The Columbus Clippers jumped out to an early lead and held off several Norfolk rallies in a 6-2 win over the Tides Saturday night from Huntington Park. With the loss, Norfolk now trails the best-of-five IL Semifinal series two games to one.
The Clippers wasted little time in getting to Norfolk starter Elih Villanueva (0-1), as Jesus Aguilar singled home a run before Zach Walters hit a two-run home run to give Columbus a 3-0, first inning lead. Two innings later, the Clippers plated three runs on four hits to chase Villanueva from the contest and extend their advantage to 6-0 after three innings of play.
The Tides couldn't push across any runs against Clippers starter Will Roberts (1-0), who yielded five hits and two walks while striking out two over five innings of work. Norfolk loaded the bases in both the fourth and fifth frames against Roberts, but the University of Virginia product did not surrender a run - including escaping a bases loaded, no-out threat in the fifth inning.
The Tides finally got on the board in the eighth inning, as Sharlon Schoop lined a two-run, two-out double to right-center field to score David Lough and Michael Almanzar. Norfolk then loaded the bases later in the inning for Christian Walker, but Walker grounded out sharply to third base to end the threat.
Norfolk left 13 runners on base in the contest and finished 3-for-10 with runners in scoring position - although two of those hits were singles that did not score a run. Through three games in the series, the Tides have now hit .186 (5-for-27) with runners in scoring positon and left 29 men on base.
Norfolk's bullpen turned in an exceptional evening, as Dana Eveland and Richard Rodriguez combined to fire 5.2 shutout innings of relief. The duo combined to strike out eight without walking a batter.
Five different Norfolk batters had multiple hits in the contest, with both Henry Urrutia and Rey Navarro collecting two hits and a walk to help pace the 11-hit attack.
The Tides will look to stave off elimination Sunday night from Huntington Park, with first pitch slated for 6:05. In a matchup of Game 2 starters, Chris Jones (0-0, 0.00) gets the start for Norfolk and will be opposed by right-hander Jarret Grube (0-0, 0.00). The game will be carried live on ESPN Radio 94.1 and online at MiLB.tv.
Notes: Columbus finished the regular season tied with Rochester for the best home record in the IL, as the Clippers went 45-27… Will Roberts was a teammate of Tyler Wilson's at the University of Virginia…Through three games in the series, Norfolk has 30 hits - 25 of which are singles…Junior Lake doubled and singled and has now hit .400 (4-10) in the series…David Lough singled, drew two walks and scored a run…The announced attendance was 3,131.