INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Indians (80-61)mounted a three-run rally over the final two frames, capping off the comeback with a walk-off double from third baseman Jared Goedert, to claim a 4-3 win over the Louisville Bats (66-75) in front of a sellout crowd of 14,867 on Friday night at Victory Field. With the victory, the Tribe has now won 80 games in back-to-back seasons for the first time since the 1994 and 1995 American Association East Division championship squads.
The Indians saved all their offense for last, and after scoring just one unearned run through the first seven innings, began to mount an improbable three-run comeback. Goedert and d'Arnaud opened the eighth with back-to-back walks, with Goedert taking third on a passed ball to immediately put a threat at third. Following a Bats pitching change, d'Arnaud swiped second to eliminate a potential double play, and LF Darren Ford picked up the runner with a grounder to second that brought the Indians within 3-2.
Last night's hero, recently promoted C Carlos Paulino, kept his flare for the dramatic alive by also knocking a run-scoring grounder to the infield that brought home d'Arnaud to bring the game full circle at a tied score of 3-3.
With the comeback complete, Indianapolis turned to RHP Kyle Farnsworth (W, 1.0 IP, SO) , who wasted no time in retiring the side in order to bring the Tribe back to the plate.
The Indians bats kept rolling in the home half of the ninth inning as RF Travis Snider poked a leadoff double to immediately move into scoring position. Louisville then opted to intentionally walk 1B Matt Hague and bring up Goedert, but the strategy proved to be the Bats downfall as the slugger smashed a walk-off double that sent Indianapolis to a 3-2 come-from-behind victory.
Friday's first pitch originally featured two Triple-A rookies matching wits with Louisville's RHP Tim Crabbe (5.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 4 SO) working his second start for the Bats and RHP Casey Sadler (6.0 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, BB, 5 SO) making his Triple-A debut for the Tribe.
Through 5.1 innings of work the Crabbe certainly presented the Indians with plenty of opportunities to mount an attack, scattering five hits and issuing four walks, but Crabbe also fanned four and induced a double play to halt any rally in its tracks. His only blemish came via a self-inflicted wound as he walked his counterpart Sadler, before seeing the Indians hurler move to second on a passed ball and score as an unearned run on an RBI double from 2B Robert Andino.
Prior to Andino's knock, which later tied the contest 1-1, Louisville jumped out to an early advantage in the first inning beginning with speedster CF Billy Hamilton coaxing a leadoff walk. 2B Emmanual Burriss then slapped a single to move the runner to second, and following a harmless popout from 3B Neftali Soto, veteran 1B Mike Hessman made the rookie pay by smashing a double that plated Hamilton and put the Bats ahead 1-0.
Sadler settled in for the next few innings from there, retiring six of the next eight batters, until Reds rehabbing C Corky Miller worked a walk to open the fourth frame. With no outs and a runner on first, SS Krisopher Negron blasted a two-run bomb to straightaway center that powered Louisville to a 3-1 edge.
The towering shot was the final setback in an otherwise strong start for Sadler. Although the right-hander was charged with three runs, he navigated through two additional scoreless frames to finish with a quality start three earned runs in 6.0 innings of work. Sadler walked just one while fanning five, one shy of his season's high with Double-A Altoona, and ultimately left the contest without factoring into the final decision.
Indianapolis and Louisville will now square off in the Tribe's regular-season home finale on Saturday at 6:05 p.m. at Victory Field. The Bats are expected to send RHP Kanekoa Texeira (0-0, 2.86 ERA) to the bump while the Tribe has not yet named its starter.
The contest will be televised on HTSN, Hometown Sports and News, available via cable or over-the-air on digital channel 6.2. The game will also be carried on WNDE 1260 AM, WNDE.com and via iheartradio, a mobile application for iPhone, Blackberry and Android phones with Howard Kellman and Will Flemming on the call. The pre-game show begins at 5:45 p.m.
Indianapolis Indians playoff tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by clicking here, through the Indians' single-game ticket hotline at 317-269-2282 or by visiting the Victory Field Box Office.