Finding themselves chasing three runs after five innings, the Clippers battled their way back to walk-off the Durham Bulls in game three of the club's four-game home-opening series.
Nellie Rodriguez (3 for 4) played tonight's hero when he came to the plate with a man on in the bottom of the ninth and launched a two-run missile halfway up the batter's eye in centerfield to win it. It was his first home run of the season.
Durham took the lead in the second inning on its own two-run homer off Clippers' starter Adam Wilk that squeaked over the wall in left off the bat of Jason Coates.
They followed up in their half of the fifth with a with a Joe McCarthy RBI double to take a 3-0 lead.
Wilk's day would be done after five innings that saw him give up three runs on seven hits, with three walks and three strikeouts.
The Clippers picked him up after that, though. In the bottom of the fifth Brandon Barnes (3 for 4) smashed another two-run dinger to left to make it 3-2.
Leading off the sixth, Francisco Mejia hammered his first home run of the year to tie the game at 3-3.
The score stayed even until the bottom of the ninth thanks to Columbus relievers Evan Marshall, Jeff Beliveau and Ben Taylor, who combined for four perfect innings. They set down 12 Durham hitters in a row, nine of which came by strikeout.
In the ninth it was Rodriguez, who unloaded on a Ryne Stanek heater to win it for the Clippers 5-3.
Stanek (0-1) was charged with the loss and Taylor (1-1) earned his first win of the year for the Clippers.
The teams will wrap up the series tomorrow at Huntington Park, with first pitch set for 2:05 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.