Chiefs Outlast Bats in Wild Slugfest, 11-8
The Syracuse Chiefs snapped a seven-game losing streak in dramatic fashion Monday, scoring three runs in the ninth to edge the Louisville Bats, 11-8, at Louisville Slugger Field. The Chiefs pounded 14 hits and two home runs in the win to grab the opener of an eight-game, seven-day road trip.
A pair of former Bats led the way for Syracuse (33-59) in a two-out rally against ace Louisville reliever Kevin Shackelford in the ninth. After a pair of strikeouts, Irving Falu - a 2015 All-Star for Louisville - walked on six pitches. Caleb Ramsey followed with a ground ball to third base off the glove of Brandon Dixon, and Falu raced to third on Dixon's second error of the game. Emmanuel Burriss, who played for the Bats in 2013, followed with a sharp ground ball of the mound, just out of the reach of a diving try by shortstop Zach Vincej, for an RBI single. Falu raced home for a 9-8 lead. Shackelford then threw a wild pitch with Brandon Snyder at the plate, which proved costly. The Chiefs' original All-Star selection laced a two-run single into right field in his first game back from an arm injury suffered June 29th. Ramsey and Burriss both crossed home for the final margin of 11-8.
Both teams launched long balls in a raucous first inning. The Chiefs struck first against Robert Stephenson when Clint Robinson clubbed a two-run home run to right field. The home run was Robinson's first since June 30th at Buffalo.
Louisville (37-57) roared back with five runs against Chiefs hurler Sean O'Sullivan. Darnell Sweeney began the rally with a single to conclude an 11-pitch at-bat; then, the Bats began their ambush. Philip Ervin bunted the next pitch to first base for a single, Sebastian Elizalde lashed the following pitch to center field for a hit, and Devin Mesoraco crushed the ensuing pitch to left field for a grand slam. The Cincinnati catcher, playing on Major League rehab, gave the Bats a 4-2 lead. Later in the inning, Stephenson helped his own cause with a ground-ball single to right field, scoring Dixon from third base.
The Chiefs tied the game with a three-run fourth. Falu led the charge with an inning-opening home run to right field, his sixth long ball of the season. After Ramsey reached on a dropped third strike and Burriss singled, O'Sullivan sacrificed the runners with a bunt in his final action of the game. All-Star center fielder Andrew Stevenson paid off the sacrifice with a two-run single to center field, evening the score at five.
Right-hander Cody Satterwhite stabilized the game from there, tossing three scoreless innings from the fourth to the sixth. In the seventh, the Chiefs put him in a winning position with another three-run rally. Neftali Soto and Robinson singled, and Pedro Severino reached on a fielding error by Dixon at third, loading the bases for Falu. The ex-Bat came through again with a ground-ball single up the middle, plating Falu for a 6-5 lead. Ramsey smashed the next pitch past Chad Wallach at first base for a two-run hit, with Severino sliding home just ahead of Elizalde's throw.
The league leader in hits, Elizalde, would come through to re-tie the game in the bottom half of the inning. After two-out singles from Sweeney and Ervin, Elizalde smashed a 1-0 offering from Rafael Martin into the right-field stands for a three-run, game-tying home run.
Outside of the seventh, Syracuse's bullpen shut down the bats. Sammy Solis tossed a scoreless eighth and Wander Suero ended the game with a hitless ninth. The final frame was the only hitless inning for Louisville, which picked up 16 hits against five Chiefs pitchers but stranded a season-high-tying 15.
Syracuse and Louisville return to action Tuesday night at 7:05 in the middle game of three. Right-hander Greg Ross starts for the Chiefs against Bats southpaw Cody Reed
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