Felix Perez Walks off Again, Bats Win in Extra's 5-4
LOUISVILLE, Ky - Felix Perez belted his second walk-off homerun of the season, this time in extra innings, leading the Louisville Bats (8-6) to a 5-4 win over the red-hot Indianapolis Indians (10-4). Perez had a knack for the dramatic as he also ended the season opener with a walk-off homerun against Toledo.
Jason Donald played a big part in the Bats scoring, starting in the first with a run off a Mike Hessman infield hit. Neftali Soto scored the second run of the game on a Henry Rodriguez double. Donald added a solo homerun in the second inning which extended the Bats lead to 3-0.
The Indians' Ivan De Jesus and Josh Harrison each had an RBI single in the fifth, cutting into the Bats' lead. The inning ended at home plate as De Jesus tried to score on Harrisons' single. Soto threw a strike from first base to Corky Miller who blocked the plate perfectly to preserve the lead.
Felix Pie led off the sixth with a single, and then advanced to third on back to back groundouts from Jordy Mercer and Brandon Inge. Matt Hague singled Pie home to tie the game 3-3.
Both starters had respectable nights that were almost mirror images. Villarreal (0-1) went six innings, giving up three runs, five hits while striking out three. Kris Johnson (1-1) went five innings, also giving up three runs and five hits while striking out two. Neither pitcher factored in the decision.
Bats relievers Jose Diaz and Clay Hensley allowed only one hit through two innings of work before Kevin Whelan was brought in to pitch the ninth. Darren Ford entered as a pinch runner after Tony Sanchez opened the inning with a single. Ford then stole third and later scored after a balk by Whelan, giving the Indians a 4-3 lead.
Billy Hamilton hit a one out single in the bottom of the ninth and then stole second, getting into scoring position with Donald coming up. After a Donald strikeout, Soto provided the timely hitting with a single to center field. Hamilton was running on contact and easily scored, tying the game 4-4.
Nick Christiani (W, 1-2) surrendered two hits in the tenth but the Bats defense kept Indianapolis from reaching home, setting the stage for the dramatic win. Perez went first pitch swinging and found the Overlook Deck above the fence in deep right-center field. It was his third homerun of the season. Hamilton went 0-4 on the night with one walk, and that one walk led to the game tying run. Soto continued his great play since coming off the DL, going 3 for 4 with an RBI and one run scored.
Roman Colon (L, 0-1) gave up the game winner and took the loss for the Indians. The Indians struck the Bats out 11 times but couldn't keep the ball in the park, giving up two home runs.
This was game one of twenty-two these two teams will play this season. The loss snaps the Indians five game winning streak. Tomorrow night's first pitch is at 6:35 with RHP Daniel Corcino (0-2, 7.27) taking the mound for the Bats against LHP Andy Oliver (0-0, 2.93) of the Indians.
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