COLUMBUS, OH - The Columbus Clippers (34-33) scored eight runs over a two-inning period to cruise past the Gwinnett Braves (35-32) by an 8-2 score on Saturday night in game two of the three-game series at Huntington Park.
For the second straight night, the G-Braves saw a lead slip away as they fell to 3-2 on the current six-game road trip.
After two scoreless innings, Gwinnett struck for two runs in the top of the second. Kyle Kubitza led off the inning with a single to center off Columbus starter Matt Whitehouse, and Anthony Recker drew a one-out walk. Ozzie Albies hit a fly ball to right that was dropped by Clippers' right fielder Mike Papi. Kubitza was able to take third on the miscue, but Recker was forced out at second. Jace Peterson then punched a single to right, scoring Kubitza for a 1-0 lead. Dustin Peterson followed with a slow grounder to short that was fielded cleanly by Columbus shortstop Eric Stamets. However, the throw by Stamets sailed past first, enabling Albies to score from second for a 2-0 lead.
The Gwinnett advantage lasted until the bottom of the fourth. G-Braves' starting pitcher Aaron Blair walked Papi, allowed a one-out single to Josh Wilson and hit Todd Hankins with a pitch to load the bases. Tyler Naquin then lined a grand slam over the wall in left to give the Clippers a 4-2 lead.
Columbus added four more runs in the fifth inning. Papi reached on a one-out single, ending Blair's night.Andrew Albers came on from the bullpen and allowed a walk and a single to load the bases. Hankins beat out an infield single scoring Papi for a 5-2 lead, and Naquin reached on a force out scoring Kratz for a 6-2 lead. Another infield single, this time from Stamets, scored Wilson to push the lead to 7-2. Evan Phillips replaced Albers and gave up an RBI single to Chris Colabello, making it an 8-2 game.
Blair (L, 4-4) pitched 5.1 innings with five hits, five earned runs, one walk and eight strikeouts. Albers went a third of an inning with three hits, three earned runs and one walk. Phillips worked 2.1 innings with one hit and four strikeouts.
For Columbus, Whitehouse (W, 1-0) tossed 5.1 innings with four hits, two runs (one earned), two walks and three strikeouts. Cole Sulser pitched two thirds of an inning with one walk. Tyler Olson went 1.0 inning with two strikeouts. Carlos Frias worked a scoreless eighth and Louis Head pitched a scoreless ninth with one strikeout.
Jace Peterson finished the night 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI to push his on-base streak to 14 games. Matt Tuiasosopo is also now on a 14-game on base streak after going 1-for-4. Albies was 0-for-3, but walked and scored to extend his on-base streak to a team-best 15 games.
Naquin had the big night for the Clippers, going 1-for-4 with his third home run of the season and five RBIs. Stamets was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI.
The G-Braves and Clippers finish the three-game series on Sunday at Huntington Park, first pitch set for 2:05 p.m. Right-hander Patrick Weigel (3-1, 3.58 ERA) will get the start for Gwinnett, while Columbus will counter with left-hander Chris Narveson (0-4, 4.15 ERA). Tony Schiavone has the play-by-play call on 97.7 FM "The Other Side of the River" beginning at 1:35 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.