Despite a standout offensive performance from Cord Phelps, a seven run eighth inning by Durham stunned the Clippers as they came up short in a 9-7 Bulls win.
The Clippers got off to a smoking start offensively in the bottom of the first. Vinnie Rottino led off the frame with a walk. He would come all the way around to score on a Cord Phelps RBI double to left. The next batter, Russ Canzler, plated Phelps with an RBI single to right, giving his team a 2-0 lead.
The Columbus bats would continue to be red hot in the bottom half of the third. Phelps would strike again as he knocked in Rottino for his second RBI of the night. Two batters later, Jared Goedert broke open the contest by slamming a two run blast off of the Columbus Dispatch scoreboard, augmenting his squad's advantage to 5-0.
The Bulls would tally two runs in the top of the fourth on a two run shot by Chris Gimenez, but once again, Phelps came through, clobbering a solo shot, his fourteenth of the season, in the bottom of the fifth to extend the Clippers lead to 6-2. As if three hits were not enough, Phelps would add to his impressive offensive output, driving in Gregorio Petit with an RBI single to left in the bottom of the seventh.
Durham would put a stunning rally together in the top of the eighth. A three run shot by Gimenez, his second homer of the game, cut the Columbus lead to 7-6. Durham would then take a one run lead when Will Rhymes tattooed a two run homer over the right center field wall, making it an 8-7 affair. It became 9-7 on a Rich Thompson RBI single. In all, twelve batters came to the plate, tallying seven runs on five hits and leaving the Clippers wondering what happened to their once insurmountable lead.
Facing their first deficit of the night, Columbus put together a rally of their own in the bottom half of the eighth. Goedert walked to start off the frame. He would move up to second on an Adam Liberatore wild pitch and advance to third on a Tim Fedroff groundout to second, but he could not cross home plate as Aaron Cunningham struck out swinging and Pagnozzi grounded out to first to end the inning.
The Clippers would have one last chance in the bottom of the ninth. Juan Diaz lined out to shortstop for the first out, Petit grounded out to second, and Lars Anderson would strike out looking to end the game. Josh Lueke (W, 2-3) got the win for the Bulls, Dan Wheeler (L, 2-3) took the loss for the Clippers, and Dane De La Rosa (15) picked up the save for Durham.
Columbus will continue to lock horns with the Bulls on Thursday night. Clippers left-hander T. J. McFarland (5-6, 5.06) will face off against Durham right-hander Lance Pendleton (7-4, 4.49). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 pm.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.