Stepehnson's Quality Start Propels Bats' to 7-1 Win
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The Louisville Bats (23-38) got a quality start from right-handed ace Robert Stephenson and had three different players homer in a 7-1 victory over the Columbus Clippers on Wednesday night at Louisville Slugger Field.
Stephenson (5-5, 3.80) worked an impressive seven innings from the hill, giving up just four hits, one earned run, while striking out nine Clippers' batters. The lone run conceded by Stephenson came in the first inning when Columbus left fielder Todd Hankins' deep-fly to left field stayed just inside the foul pole before landing into the left-field bleachers to put the Clippers on top by a single run after one.
The Bats promptly answered in the second when right fielder Gabriel Guerrero led off the second by crushing the first pitch of the inning over the right-center field fence to tie the game up a one run apiece. Three at-bats later first baseman Steve Selsky doubled into center field, bringing home Mason Williams who had singled before him to give Louisville the 2-1 lead through two frames.
Guerrero, who went 2-for-4 in the game and is 17-for-43 (.395) since the calendar turned to June, recorded his third home run of the season with the 425-foot solo bomb. Selsky finished the night going 3-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI. The three hits for Selsky mark his highest hit total in a single game during the 2018 campaign.
Nick Senzel singled home a run in the fifth and doubled home a run in the seventh to extend the Bats' lead to 4-1. Senzel, who has now hit safely in four consecutive games, finished 2-for-5 with a double and two RBI in the game.
Louisville padded its lead in the eighth inning by adding three more runs via the long ball. Third baseman D.J. Peterson drilled a two-run bomb over the center-field fence before center fielder Mason Williams popped a solo shot out of right center to make the score 7-1. Peterson's homer was his fifth of the season while Williams' was his third.
Peterson and Williams went back-to-back for Louisville, the first consecutive home runs hit by Louisville this season and the first since Alex Blandino and Brandon Dixon smacked back-to-back home runs on August 20 last season vs. Rochester in a 13-6 win.
Tanner Rainey (1-1, 1.93) and Kyle Crockett (1-0, 3.28) each tossed two hitless innings in relief of Stephenson. Rainey's hitless eighth goes as his fifth hold for the season.
Columbus starter Mitch Talbot (0-2) suffered the defeat after giving up seven hits and three runs in six innings.
The Bats will look to get away with a split of the four-game series with the Clippers on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. Justin Nicolino (2-3, 4.02) is scheduled to start for the Bats while being opposed by Columbus' Ryan Merritt (0-0, 8.31).
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