COLUMBUS, OHIO - Four extra-base hits during a three-run third led the Columbus Clippers to a narrow 5-4 series-opening victory over the Indianapolis Indians on Monday night at Huntington Park. The Tribe clawed within one in the seventh and the ninth, but were ultimately handed their 10th one-run loss of the season.
The Clippers (17-19) broke a 1-1 tie in the third against Tribe starter Tyler Eppler on Ronny Rodriguez's second home run of the season. Eric Stamets followed with a double to left, and one out later, Richie Shaffer lifted a sun-aided triple to the warning track in right. Christopher Bostick lost the ball in the twilight on the play, allowing Stamets to score from second. Giovanny Urshela then drove a run-scoring two-bagger to deep center, making it 4-1.
The Indians (16-18) chipped away in the seventh, scoring twice against left-hander Tyler Olson. Bostick tallied his second hit of the game on an infield single to short and moved to third on a double by Max Moroff. On the ensuing play, Elias Diaz's high chopper back to Olson led to a rushed, errant throw to first. Both Bostick and Moroff scored on the error, bringing Indy within one.
A sacrifice fly by Adam Moore in the eighth proved to be a crucial run for the home team. Indianapolis staged a rally in the ninth against Joe Colon, totaling two walks and an RBI single from Eric Wood to bring the Indians within a single tally. With runners on first and second and two away, Jason Rogers bounced into a game-ending 5-4 fielder's choice.
The Indians plated their lone run against Columbus starter Travis Banwart in the first. Bostick doubled off the wall in center and later scored on a two-out single by Erich Weiss. The Clippers leveled the score in the second on three consecutive singles by Erik Kratz, Moore and Jordan Smith.
Banwart (1-2) earned the win with 5.2 innings of one-run ball. He scattered eight hits and two walks with seven punchouts. Josh Martin recorded the final out in the ninth for his second save.
Eppler (3-2) took the loss after yielding four earned runs on eight hits over six frames. The Indians stranded 11 baserunners as a team and finished 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
Indianapolis and Columbus continue their five-game set with a doubleheader Tuesday night at Huntington Park. The Indians will send left-handers Steven Brault (1-3, 3.19) and Cody Dickson (2-2, 6.75) to the bump, while Columbus will counter with southpaw Ryan Merritt (3-3, 3.95) and right-hander Carlos Frias (0-0, 9.00). First pitch is scheduled for 5:35 p.m. and game two will begin 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game. Both games can be heard on Fox Sports 97.5 or AM 1260.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.