TOLEDO, Oh. - It took just over four-and-a-half hours to complete, but the Louisville Bats outlasted the Toledo Mud Hens Saturday night at Fifth Third Field to move to 2-0 on the young season. In a 13-inning affair, the Bats rode a combination of clutch hitting and gutsy pitching to a 3-2 marathon win in the Glass City.
Ryan LaMarre came up with the clutch RBI single in the 13th inning to score Hernan Iribarren and take the final Bats lead. The single was his first hit of 2014 and his first RBI in a Louisville uniform dating back to his Triple-A debut in 2013. LaMarre's hit came finally after the Bats had left 14 runners on base on the night.
In his first outing at the Triple-A level, Bats reliever Josh Smith (W, 1-0) delivered in extra innings with a remarkable performance that included seven strikeouts. In four frames of work, Smith allowed three hits and a walk en route to shutting down the Mud Hens' offense and making way for the victory.
Early in the evening, Louisville got their second quality start in as many nights, as right hander Tim Crabbe followed up Jeff Francis' impressive Opening Night performance with one of his own. Saturday night marked Crabbe's third career start in a Bats uniform after he made his Triple-A debut with the team in 2013 and posted a miniscule 0.71 ERA in two starts.
Crabbe was perfect through 4.1 innings and held the Mud Hens scoreless through five innings before Daniel Fields' sixth inning solo homer put Toledo on the board and tied the game at one. Crabbe would leave the game after the sixth inning, finishing with eight strikeouts and only one earned run on two hits and a walk.
After threatening in the fourth with the first hits of the game, Louisville pushed the first run of the game across in the fifth. Mike Costanzo set the table with a leadoff single and came home on a two-out single from former Mud Hen Argenis Diaz to claim a 1-0 Bats lead.
Louisville would have to tie the game in the eighth to eventually send the game to extra innings after the Hens took a 2-1 lead in the seventh on a James McCann single. The Bats were able to knot the score at two when Jason Bourgeois grounded into a force out and allowed Diaz to score. Bourgeois was one of three Louisville hitters that registered a multi-hit game. Felix Perez (3-for-6) and Ruben Gotay (2-for-7) were the others.
Toledo's Drew VerHagen nearly equaled Crabbe's effort in his Triple-A debut. The righty worked five innings, three of which were perfect. VerHagen would go on to only allow one run on four hits while striking out one.
In total, the Mud Hens and Bats used a combined 11 pitchers in the game. Toledo's veteran reliever Nate Robertson received the loss after allowing Louisville's winning run in the 13th inning.
The Bats and Hens will wrap up their season-opening series with a matinee tomorrow that will feature Louisville righty Chien-Ming Wang against Toledo southpaw Robbie Ray. First pitch at Fifth Third Field is scheduled for 2 p.m.