LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The Louisville Bats (51-69) defeated the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (56-62) by a score of 7-3 in the series opener at Louisville Slugger Field. With the win, the Bats evened the season series against Lehigh Valley 2-2.
Both pitchers started off strong, with neither team being able to muster a run in the first two innings. Alex Powers (0-0, 1.96) served as the opener for the Bats, only allowing one hit during his time on the mound. This was just the second start of Powers' career, with the first coming in 2017 with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. He would be replaced in the third inning by Jackson Stephens (7-4, 5.45).
The IronPigs started the scoring in the third, scoring one off Stephens to jump in front. The lead would be short-lived, as the Bats tallied two runs in the bottom half off IronPigs rehabber Jerad Eickhoff (2-1, 5.11). Both runs came on a ground-rule double courtesy of Alfredo Rodriguez, who now has seven RBIs in six games since being called up from Double-A Chattanooga.
Lehigh Valley threatened again in the fourth, but the Bats induced a timely double play with the bases loaded to escape the inning without allowing any runs. Louisville took advantage and extended the lead in the bottom of the frame. Four of the first five Louisville batters reached base in the inning, and the Bats tallied three runs to extend the lead to 5-1.
Once again, Lehigh Valley loaded the bases in the fifth but still could not manage any more runs past Stephens. The Bats continued to punish the visitors' mistakes, with Mitch Nay launching a two-run shot to center in the bottom half to increase the lead even further. Nay went 2-for-3 on the night, reaching base in all four of his at-bats with a double and the homerun.
Stephens was taken out after completing the fifth, logging 3.0 innings and earning the win. He allowed six hits and four walks but only one run; he left the bases loaded in each of his three innings pitched. Lehigh Valley would push one run across in both the seventh and eighth innings but could not mount a comeback in the ninth as the Bats sealed the 7-3 win.
The Bats will look to clinch the three-game series on Wednesday against the IronPigs. Right-hander Jesus Reyes (0-4, 4.73) will toe the rubber for Louisville, and he will face off against righty Dan Straily (2-4, 9.82) for Lehigh Valley. First pitch is set for 7:00 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.