Charlotte rallies to beat Clippers
A good start didn’t result in a good outcome for the Clippers Tuesday night. Columbus had a 6-0 lead after three innings but were outscored 13-1 the rest of the way as the Charlotte Knights outslugged the Clippers 13-7. Eric Berger (0-1) suffered his first loss of the season. Miguel Socolovich (2-0) got the win for the Knights.The Clippers got on the board quickly in the bottom of the first. Columbus centerfielder Ezequiel Carrera stroked a lead-off home run that just cleared the 16 ft tall right center field wall to give the Clippers an early 1-0 lead. Another solo home run would be clubbed by the Clippers in the next inning. Cord Phelps blasted a 2nd inning solo dinger into the left field bleachers to double the Clippers lead to 2-0.
In the third inning, the Clippers decided to use speed to their advantage. Luis Valbuena led off the inning with a single to left field. Carrera then got on when he laid down a perfect bunt down the 1st base line. Knights starter Freddy Dolsi gave chase to Carrera’s bunted ball, but fumbled the ball as he attempted to throw out the speedy Carrera. Jason Donald would walk to load the bases. Lonnie Chisenhall came to bat and he delivered with ducks on the pond, smoking a 3 run RBI double down the left field line to augment the Clippers advantage 5-0. After a deep Chad Huffman fly out to centerfield, Travis Buck knocked in Chisenhall from third base with an RBI single to make it 6-0 Columbus.
The Knights would finally get on the board in the top of the fourth when Jordan Danks hit two out solo blast of his own to the right field porch to make it 6-1 Clippers. They would draw closer to Columbus when Alejandro De Aza came in on a Jim Gallagher RBI single to right field to cut it to 6-2. The next batter, Dayan Viciedo, would then make it a two run affair when he clobbered a two run shot off of Clippers starter Corey Kluber to left centerfield.
At the end of the inning, the game had gone from a comfortable 6-1 clippers lead to a much tighter 6-4 affair.
The very next inning, Travis Buck crushed a solo long ball over the right field and onto Nationwide Boulevard to give the Clippers a 7-4 lead.
In the top of the sixth, Kluber ran into some trouble. The first three batters of the inning reached via double, double, and single to make it a one run ball game. Kluber was then pulled and in came Eric Berger. Berger was able to get out of a bases loaded jam when he got Tyler Flowers to ground out to third to preserve the slim Columbus lead. Berger would be bested by Charlotte in the seventh as he continued to work on the bum for Columbus Dallas McPherson led off with a double to left centerfield. The next batter, Lastings Milledge, laced a base hit up the middle.
It looked as though that McPherson would hold at third after a strong throw from Carrera, but the throw went through the cut-off , the catcher and Berger who was backing u Carlin on the play all the way to the backstop, allowing McPherson to score and tie the ballgame at 7-7. Milledge would advance to second on the throw home and to third on a Danks sacrifice bunt.
Berger was then pulled by Clippers manager Mike Sarbaugh. He would bring in Carlton Smith to try get the Clippers out of a jam. Unfortunately, Gookie Dawkins knocked in Milledge on an RBI single. After a broken bat single by Eduardo Escobar to put runners on the corner with one out, De Aza hit a grounder to the right side. Clippers first baseman Travis Buck gloved it by diving to his right and threw to home to get Dawkins at the late for out # 2. A walk to Sean Gallagher loaded the bases with two out. The game was broken open when Viciedo hit a bases clearing double that bounced off the right centerfield wall to give Charlotte an 11-7 advantage. The Knights kept it going at the plate with a Tyler Flowers RBI single that made it 12-7 in favor of the Knights. Smith struck out McPherson to end the frame, but the damage was done as the Knights exited the frame with their first lead of the ball game.
Lastings Milledge came in on an Eduardo Escobar RBI sacrifice fly in the top of the eighth to make it 13-7.
On Wednesday, Jeanmar Gomez (1-0) will get the start for Columbus. He will oppose Charlotte right hander Brandon Hynick (1-1). First pitch is at 6:35 pm