COLUMBUS, OH - Chris Colabello's two-out walk-off double off Mauricio Cabrera in the bottom of the ninth inning sent the Columbus Clippers (33-33) to a come-from-behind 7-6 win over the Gwinnett Braves (35-31) on Friday night in game one of the three-game series at Huntington Park.
The winning hit by Colabello came after Cabrera (L, 2-2) had hit Joe Sever with a pitch with one out. After Cabrera got Mike Papi to fly out to left for the second out, Colabello crushed the first pitch to center over the head of Xavier Avery , scoring Sever from first with the winning run.
The walk-off hit ended a back and forth game that included six home runs, five from the Clippers. In the bottom of the second, Columbus native Eric Stamets drilled the first pitch of the inning from Gwinnett starterLucas Sims over the left field wall for a 1-0 lead. A half inning later, Ozzie Albies tied the game with a two-out solo homer to left off Columbus starter Julian Merryweather. The Clippers broke the tie in the bottom of the fourth as again Stamets greeted Sims with a solo homer to left.
The Columbus lead grew to 3-1 in the bottom of the fifth as Tyler Naquin hit a long solo homer to right off Sims.
Gwinnett erased the deficit and took the lead thanks to a five-run top of the sixth. Jace Peterson led off the inning with a single to right off Merryweather. Dustin Peterson walked and Matt Tuiasosopo was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no one out. Carlos Franco followed with a double down the left field line, scoring all three runners to put the G-Braves ahead 4-3. The Clippers removed Merryweather in favor of Jeff Johnson from the bullpen. His wild pitch allowed Franco to move to third, and a sacrifice fly to center byKyle Kubitza plated Franco for a 5-3 lead. Anthony Recker then walked, stole second and scored on a single to right by Avery for a 6-3 lead.
But the long ball haunted Gwinnett pitching over the next two innings. In the bottom of the sixth, Stamets cracked his third homer of the game off Sims, again leading off the inning with a solo shot to left to cut the G-Braves' lead to 6-4. Then in the bottom of the seventh, with David Peterson now in his second inning of relief, Richie Shaffer pounded a two-run homer to left, tying the game at 6-6.
Sims pitched 5.0 innings with six hits, four earned runs, five walks and eight strikeouts in a no-decision. Peterson (BS, 4) went 2.0 innings with two hits, two earned runs and two strikeouts. Cabrera worked 1.2 innings with one hit, one earned run and one strikeout.
For the Clippers, Merryweather tossed 5.0 innings with four hits, five earned runs, four walks and seven strikeouts. Johnson pitched 2.0 innings with one hit, one earned run, one walk and three strikeouts. David Speer (W, 1-0) went 2.0 innings for the win with one hit and one strikeout.
At the plate, Albies was 1-for-5 with his fourth home run of the season, extending his on-base streak to 14 games. Jace Peterson and Tuiasosopo each went 1-for-3 to extend their on-base streaks to 13 games. Franco finished 1-for-4 with a double and three RBIs.
For the Clippers, Stamets tied a franchise record with a three-homer night, going 3-for-4 with his seventh, eighth and ninth blasts of the year. Shaffer was 1-for-3 with his 15th homer.
The G-Braves and Clippers play game two of the three-game series on Saturday night at Huntington Park, first pitch set for 7:15 p.m. Right-hander Aaron Blair (4-3, 4.99 ERA) will start for Gwinnett, while Columbus will counter with left-hander Matt Whitehouse (0-0, 94.50 ERA). Tony Schiavone has the play-by-play call on 97.7 FM "The Other Side of the River" beginning at 6:45 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.