On a very hot and humid evening the Norfolk Tides and Columbus Clippers met for the second game of what is a critical series for both teams. The Tides are hoping to start making up ground in the International League Southern division and working their way back into contention. The Clippers face the situation of making sure that they remain on top of the Western division of the IL. The Clippers had taken game one of the series by a score of 6-1 on Thursday night behind an outstanding pitching performance by Carlos Carrasco. Despite the weather conditions which were just as miserable as were Thursday’s game it appeared as though two completely different teams had taken the field. The game was high scoring and pitchers melted in the heat and withered under the offensive barrage of their opponent. In fact with the exception of the 9th inning runs were scored in each inning of the game. It seemed that no matter what a pitcher did the result was going to be a hit or walk as there were 31 hits and 12 walks in the game.
The game was one of the most offensively offensive this year at Harbor Park as the teams scored a combined 21 runs had 32 hits and committed 5 errors. Additionally the pitchers walked 11 and hit 1 with a pitch. The teams left 23 men on base 16 in scoring position with 2 outs. Pitchers threw 343 pitches in the game which lasted 3 hours and 40 minutes.
The game was a see-saw affair. Columbus got on the board first in the top of the 1st inning with back to back home runs by Jordan Brown and Jared Goedert. The Tides answered in the bottom of the 2nd with 3 runs of their own on a Michael Aubrey double and Rhyne Hughes single as well as 2 Columbus errors and a hit batsman. The Tides took the lead in the bottom of the 3rd on Robert Andino’s 9th home run to lead off the inning. The Clippers regained the lead in the top of the 4th inning when Josh Rodriguez hit a single to drive in two runners with 2 outs. In the bottom half of 4th Paco Figueroa doubled to lead off the inning but was left stranded on 3rd.
In the top half of the 5th inning Columbus seemed to take control, at least for a half an inning as they scored two more runs off Tides starter Troy Patton. Nick Weglarz doubled with two outs and scored on a single by Cord Phelps and following a walk issued to Lou Marson Patton was pulled from the game replaced by Pat Egan who gave up a single to Ezequiel Carrera before getting out of the inning. With the score now 7-4 it looked as if the Tides were on their way to yet another loss. However this was not to be so. In the bottom of the 5th the Tides struck back on a Rhyne Hughes double which scored Jeff Salazar and Michael Aubrey’s 7th home run of the season a two run blast which tied the game yet again. The Tides took the lead in the bottom of the 6th using some “small ball” scoring 2 runs on 2 singles a walk and a wild pitch.
But the Clippers were not done scoring 2 in the top of the 7th to tie the game. It looked like the game would go into the 8th tied but the Tides mounted a 2 out blitz to score two more runs when Blake Davis walked and went to 2nd base on a Matt Angle single. Robert Andino walked to load the bases and Jeff Salazar singled to score Davis and Angle. They would add an insurance run in the bottom of the 8th inning when Rhyne Hughes clubbed his second double of the game and scored on a single by Paco Figueroa. Denis Sarfate would come on in the 9th for the save ending the inning with an epic 13 pitch battle with Columbus slugger Jared Goedert.
In all the Clippers had 9 runs on 16 hits committing 3 errors and leaving 13 men on base while the Tides had 12 runs on 16 hits and 2 errors leaving 10 stranded. Neither starter figured in the decision reliever Jim Hoey (1-0 0.0 ERA) making his first appearance in relief for the Tides this year got the win going 1.1 innings giving up a hit but no runs and Denis Sarfate notched his 12th save of the campaign. Jeremy Sowers took the loss giving up 4 runs on 4 hits with 3 walks in 1.2 innings of relief.
The teams meet tonight amid scatter rain showers which could delay the game with Zack Britton (0-1 2.53 ERA) on the hill for the Tides against Columbus right-hander Josh Tomlin (8-3 2.58) who has the third best record in the International League.
Well I’m off to the game.