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Ninth Inning Rally Stuns Bats in 8-7 Loss

April 16, 2024 - International League (IL)
Louisville Bats News Release

DES MOINES, Iowa - The Louisville Bats offense was strong out of the gate to build a lead, but the bullpen let a three-run lead slip away in the bottom of the ninth inning to suffer an 8-7 loss to the Iowa Cubs in the series opener on Tuesday night at Principal Park.

The Bats got off to a quick start with a leadoff single by Levi Jordan to get the lineup going in the top of the first. Ford followed up with a 396-foot home run to center, his fourth of the year, to put the Bats up 2-0.

Iowa answered in the bottom half of the inning with their own homer from Patrick Wisdom, halving Louisville's lead at 2-1 against Bats starter Brett Kennedy.

With back-to-back doubles by Quincy McAfee and Hernán Pérez, the Bats' lineup got back to work in the top of the second. Erik Gonzalez secured an RBI grounder to send McAfee home, and a fielding error by Iowa allowed Pérez to score and brought the tally to 4-1.

The I-Cubs fought back again in the bottom of the second, combining a triple by Owen Cassie with a sac fly to cut the Bats' advantage down to 4-2.

In the top of the third, Louisville recorded back-to-back singles by Ford and P.J. Higgins to put two runners on. Conner Capel's sacrifice fly strengthened the Bats' lead at 5-2.

After a quiet fourth inning, Ford led off for Louisville and continued his impressive performance by smashing his second longball of the game and fifth of the season, this time with an exit velocity of 108.8 miles per hour, to put the Bats up 6-2.

Kennedy pitched five innings for Louisville, recording a season-high six strikeouts and allowing just two runs to leave in line for the win. But the bullpen was unable to protect it.

The Cubs lineup got going in the bottom of the sixth, taking advantage of a couple of walks and a single to again slice the Louisville lead in half, 6-3 against Casey Legumina.

Though the Bats scored again in the top of the seventh, combining several walks and a hit batter, Iowa's Pete Crow-Armstrong hit a homer to put cut the Bats lead to 7-4 after seven.

The I-Cubs put up a fight in the bottom of the ninth against Tony Santillan, starting with a lead-off double by Jake Slaughter. Following up with an RBI single and several walks, Iowa continued to chip away at Louisville's lead. With the score at 7-5, Santillan (L, 1-1) was nearly out of the jam. However, BJ Murray Jr. worked a bases-loaded walk to extend the game and cut the deficit to one run. Alan Busenitz was called on to try and get the final out. However, his third pitch was lined to left by Luiz Vazquez for a two-run single, giving the home team the walk-off come-from-behind win.

Offensively, Jordan and Ford each recorded three hits for the Bats. Ford led the way, going 3-for-5 with two home runs, three RBI, and three runs scored. As a team, the Bats went just 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position and stranded 10 men on base, falling for the first time when leading after eight innings this season.

Louisville (7-9) will face the I-Cubs (10-6) for the second game in the series on Wednesday afternoon, April 17 with the first pitch set for 1:08 p.m. E.T. Righty Lyon Richardson (0-0, 5.19) will take the mound for the Bats and fellow RHP Chris Clarke will get the nod from Iowa (0-0, 0.90). Nick Curran will be on the call for 1450/96.1 WXVW.

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