INDIANAPOLIS - In one of their most impressive wins of the season, the Louisville Bats (60-74) defeated the Indianapolis Indians (71-66) in dramatic comeback fashion on Friday night at Victory Field, 6-5. The Bats trailed 5-4 going into the ninth inning before scoring two runs in the top of the ninth to win it.
The newest member of the Bats, outfielder Preston Tucker, wasted no time getting acclimated to his new team, driving in the game's first run with an RBI single that scored Josh VanMeter in the top of the first. The Indians would come back with a two-run bottom of the first, holding a 4-2 lead through five innings.
Top offensive performers for the Bats tonight included Josh VanMeter, who went 2-for-3 with a pair of runs scored, an RBI and two walks and Taylor Sparks, whose two-run home run in the top of the sixth made it a 4-4 ballgame.
Bats starting pitcher, left-hander Brandon Finnegan went 4.0 innings, allowing four runs, two earned, on six hits, walking one and striking out five on 73 pitches, 48 strikes. Right-hander Jimmy Herget was excellent out of the bullpen for Louisville, tossing 3.0 scoreless innings in his longest outing of the season.
Indianapolis broke the 4-4 tie in the bottom of the eighth inning, when Kevin Kramer hit a solo home run off Tanner Rainey. Going into the ninth inning and trailing 5-4, the Bats' offense kicked it into gear for a ferocious comeback win to shake up the International League playoff race.
Steve Selsky, who came off the bench, opened the top of the ninth with a double, which was immediately followed by a VanMeter RBI single to tie the game up 5-5. VanMeter would come around to score on a throwing error made by Indianapolis shortstop Max Moroff on a batted ball by Gabriel Guerrero. The Bats took a 6-5 lead with Damien Magnifico on the mound for Indianapolis, who took the loss.
Right-hander Kevin Quackenbush came into the game to close it out for Louisville, recording two quick outs before allowing a pair of hits, but ultimately got the job done by inducing a Ryan Lavarnway groundout to seal Louisville's 60th victory of the season. Quackenbush notched his 25th save of the season in the process.
It was just the second time all season that Louisville won a game in which it trailed heading into the game's final inning, also occurring on August 24 against these same Indianapolis Indians, trailing 4-1 heading into the ninth in that contest before ultimately winning 5-4 on a Gabriel Guerrero two-run walk-off single.
With Indianapolis losing tonight and the Toledo Mud Hens defeating the Columbus Clippers, Columbus now holds a narrow half-game lead over Toledo and one-game lead over Indianapolis for the IL West Division crown. The Bats have played spoiler and have the opportunity to continue to do so during their next three games against the Indians.
The Bats and Indians are set to square off tomorrow at 6:05, the clubs' final matchup at Victory Field this season. With Major League rosters expanding tomorrow, both teams have yet to announce their starting pitchers.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.