COLUMBUS, Ohio- The combination of strong pitching and solid run support helped the Clippers secure the win Thursday afternoon.
The first place Clippers entered Thursday's tilt with the visiting Mud Hens seeking their third home series victory on the young season. Starting pitcher Zach Plesac toed the rubber for Columbus, looking to stay perfect at Triple-A entering the game with a 2-0 record with an ERA hovering around 2.00 (2.08).
The home team jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first three innings courtesy of RBI singles by Trayce Thompson (first inning) and Mark Mathias (third inning). The visiting Mud Hens evened the score in the fifth inning at 2-2 on a two-run triple by Pete Kozma.
Columbus responded in a powerful way beginning in the fifth inning by regaining the lead for the rest of the game (5-2) plating three runs. Those runs came on the strength of a two-run opposite field home run by Bobby Bradley and a solo home run by Mathias en route to a 7-2 victory inside Huntington Park.
In the seventh inning, Brandon Barnes contributed to the scoring with an RBI double down the right field line extending the lead to 6-2. Barnes, who leads the team in hitting with a .305 average finished the day 2-for-4 scoring two runs. Shortly after, Thompson rounded out the afternoon's offensive fireworks shooting a single back up the middle giving the Clippers a convincing 7-2 advantage. Thompson finished the game 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a walk.
With today's home run, Bradley has now reached the double-digit mark in home runs on the season (10) with 25 RBIs. Thompson and Bradley are now tied for the team lead in home runs. Mathias now has five home runs and 20 RBIs to this point.
Plesac was locked in from the start of his outing registering four strikeouts in his first two innings of work. The right-handed hurler went on to throw seven strong innings with six strikeouts, scattering four hits allowing two earned runs.
Toledo didn't enter the hit column until midway through the fourth inning. Plesac improves his Triple-A record to a perfect 3-0 record with 2.25 ERA since being called up from Double-A Akron.
Recently acquired Adam Rosales continued his strong series stroking a season-high three hits going 3-for-4 while scoring three runs. Rosales finished the series 6-for-12 overall.
Dioner Navarro, who made his first appearance in a Clipper uniform in over 14 years, contributed to the cause with a double to center field.
Right handers Brooks Pounders and Jon Edwards came on in relief of Plesac allowing zero runs for the remainder of the game to close out the win for Columbus. The Clippers improve to eight games over .500 at 26-18 while staying in first place in the International League West Division over second place Indianapolis.
Columbus will play host to Indianapolis in a four-game series in a battle for first place in the West division over Memorial Day weekend.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.