The Columbus Clippers finished their seven-game road trip with a four-game sweep of the Durham Bulls, as excellent pitching highlighted the series. Durham struck out 46 times in the series against Columbus pitching; the Bulls lead the International League with 591 strike outs. The Clippers pitching staff boasts a 3.14 ERA and 1.27 WHIP, both third in the International League. The sweep inched the team to within 3.5 games of International League West leader Indianapolis, which hosts the Clippers at the end of the month.
Jesus Aguilar’s four-RBI game propelled the Clippers to a 7-1 victory over the Durham Bulls in the first of four games to be played at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. The game was called after 5 ½ innings due to rain.
Aguilar wasted little time in getting the Clippers on the board by hitting his eighth home run of the season in the top of the first inning. The two-run shot put the Clippers up 2-0.
The Clippers first baseman was at it again in the second inning, drilling a two-out single to centerfield with the bases loaded, scoring two runs. Lonnie Chisenhall followed with a double scoring two more runs to give Columbus a 6-0 lead.
Durham scored their only run in the bottom of the third inning on a Taylor Motter double that scored Eugenio Velez.
Michael Martinez hit a solo home run in the top of the sixth inning to give the Clippers a 7-1 advantage; it was Martinez’s fourth home run of the season.
Michael Roth pitched all five innings for Columbus and allowed one run on three hits and three walks; he struck out four in upping his record to 6-2.
Dylan Floro (7-5) took the loss for the Bulls.
Four Columbus pitchers combined to strike out 18 Durham hitters as the Clippers defeated Durham for the second game in a row, 4-1.
Nick Maronde faced 20 Bulls hitters and struck out 11 in the 4.2 innings he pitched. The southpaw allowed one run on three hits and one walk; he didn’t factor in the decision. C.C. Lee, Giovanni Soto and Shawn Armstrong completed the game, with Soto getting the win and Armstrong picking up his eighth save.
Jesus Aguilar gave the Clippers a 1-0 lead in the first inning when he hit a sacrifice fly that scored Tyler Naquin, Naquin doubled to open the game and advanced to third on a Jose Ramirez sacrifice bunt.
Aguilar continued to stay hot, hitting his second home run in as many games. A solo shot in the fourth inning put Columbus up 2-0.
Maronde struggled in the top of the fifth as he walked a pair and gave up two singles in the second. An RBI hit by Ryan Brett, brought the Bulls to within a run, 2-1.
Columbus added runs in the top of the seventh on an RBI single by Michael Martinez, and in the top of the eighth on a wild pitch that scored Jose Ramirez to hike their lead to 4-1.
Armstrong was able to retire the Bulls in order in the bottom of the ninth to end the game.
A three-run tenth inning home run by Carlos Moncrief gave the Clippers a 5-4 victory in the third game versus the Durham Bulls Saturday night at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. It was the Clippers fourth consecutive win, all on the road.
The game saw both third basemen ejected for arguing called third strikes and both of their replacements hitting extra inning home runs.
Moncrief entered the game in the bottom of the ninth as a defensive substitute for Lonnie Chisenhall and J.P. Arencibia replaced Vince Belnome in the top of the sixth inning.
It was nothing but single run innings for both teams through nine innings. Columbus took the lead, 1-0, for the third consecutive game on a Jose Ramirez RBI single in the third inning.
Durham tied the game 1-1 in the bottom of the inning on a fielder’s choice that scored Taylor Motter.
Jesus Aguilar scored on Chisenhall’s fifth double of the season to give Columbus a 2-1 edge.
The Bulls tied it again in the seventh inning on a Mikie Mahtook sacrifice fly.
Moncrief’s heroics were set up by an Adam Moore double to lead-off the inning. Following a strike out and ground out Bulls’ pitcher Jhan Marinez intentionally walked the red hot Aguilar to bring Moncrief to the plate. Moncrief came into the game hitting .179; he was 6 for 32 in his last nine games. He only had three RBI in the last three weeks before he launched a 1-1 slider over the wall in right center to give Columbus a 5-2 lead.
Durham fought to the end as Allan Dykstra hit a one-out single to allow Arencibia to belt his 11th homer of the season to bring the Bulls to within a run, 5-4. C.C. Lee was up to the challenge for the Clippers, retiring the final two batters on a strike out and ground out.
Austin Adams won his second game of the season and Lee earned the save.
Columbus used the long ball and solid pitching to defeat the Bulls 5-2 and sweep their four-game series in Durham. James Ramsey and Carlos Moncrief homered while four Clipper pitchers combined to strike out 15 batters.
The Clippers again took the early 1-0 lead on Jesus Aguilar’s RBI single in the top of the first inning; Aguilar was 6 for 15 in the series with seven RBI.
Corey Brown quickly tied the game at 1-1 in the home half of the first with his 11th homer of the season, a line drive to right. Durham then took a one-run lead in the bottom of the second on a Luke Maile solo home run.
From that point on it was all Clippers. Ramsey and Moncrief hit back-to back home runs in the fourth inning to edge the lead to 3-2. Brett Hayes and Lonnie Chisenhall added RBI singles in the sixth and seventh innings, respectively, to give Columbus a 5-2 lead.
Jarrett Grube won his first game as a Clipper, pitching five innings, allowing two runs on three hits and three walks, with seven strike outs. Tyler Sturdevant, Giovanni Soto and Shawn Armstrong worked four scoreless innings combing for eight strikeouts. Armstrong picked up his ninth save.
The Clippers head home for a series with Norfolk and Durham hosts Toledo.
By Mike Tanchevski