Photo: Jay Gehres/Courtesy Columbus Clippers

Game 1: Buffalo Bisons 4, Columbus Clippers 2

Game 2: Columbus Clippers 4, Buffalo Bisons 3

The sun finally came out to shed light on the Columbus Clippers (28-19) as they split their doubleheader with the Buffalo Bisons (28-18). 

Game 1 

Kirk McCarty kept the game quiet for three innings. After Thomas Ponticelli stepped in mid-top of the fourth, the Bisons began to rally together. Ponticelli walked his first batter, Samad Taylor. He also allowed two runs caused by Otto Lopez’s RBI single and runners already in scoring position from a single and walk McCarty allowed. Justin Garza stepped in to whip the game into shape at the top of the fifth inning. Yet as if they hit a doomsday button, the team could not recover the damage. The first batter Garza faced singled on a line drive to left field, and he walked three. Within those plays, three Bisons scored again.

Things began to look up at the bottom of the fifth inning. Tolman stuck his neck and bat out for the team. He singled on a groundball to right field. Jose Fermin followed up with a single that put Columbus on second and first. After advancing to third base on a balk, Tolman scored with Will Benson batting. Benson grounded out thanks to the Bison’s second baseman. Fermin scored after Tyler Freeman reached a fielding error by the same baseman. 

A peak in action worthy to note was Bryan Lavastida’s baserunning at the bottom of the second inning. He singled out to centerfield. While Mitch Tolman was batting, he slid over to steal second base. Fielders missed the catch to get him out, so he advanced to third on a throwing error by Bison catcher Zack Collins. As previously mentioned, no scoring came from it, but any sign of momentum helped change the pace of the game.

The team’s hopes of recuperating the score did not come to pass with anything more than 96 mph pitches from Buffalo, and singles coming from Lavastida and Freeman in the second inning. 

Velocity

LHP Kirk McCarty 

1st inning 92, 92, 93, 83, 78, 94,92,93, 92, 94, 88, 81, 82, 92, 91

2nd inning 91, 83, 82, 81, 80, 90, 91, 83, 92, 82, 88, 77, 83, 85, 87, 83, 

3rd inning 91, 91, 85,80, 93, 78, 86, 91, 92, 80, 83, 92, 78

4th inning 91 87, 91, 91, 91, 92, 80, 87, 79, 92, 82, 81, 

RHP Thomas Ponticelli

4th inning- 81, 80, 92, 83, 92, 91, 83,93, 93,92,83,88, 83, 87, 82, 83, 83, 

RHP Justin Garza

5th inning 96, 96, 97, 85, 97, 96, 92, 96, 97, 96, 97,86, 96, 96, 95, 97, 95, 95, 95, 95, 94, 83, 94, 95, 

RHP Ian Gibaut

5th inning – 97, 86, 86, 97, 97,97, 97

6th inning 96, 87, 97, 97, 96, 96, 98, 88, 87,97, 97

RHP Yohan Ramirez 

7th inning 94, 95, 95, 82, 95, 95, 96, 96,96,95, 95, 83

Game 2

Following the same trend of the first three games in the series, the Clippers did not get any runs until after the third inning. Buffalo’s pitching change from Erick Yardley to Brandon Eisert proved disastrous for them. Eisert walked Columbus’ Will Brennan. Then with a wild pitch to Bradley’s at-bat, Brennan advanced to second. David Fry’s single then took him home and scored the Clipper’s first run of the game. 

There was a brief on-field delay by a squirrel trying to occupy the Bison pitcher’s mound before the ballpark grounds crew got it. It seemed as if the comic relief was just what the Clippers needed.

Gavin Collins and Tyler Freeman both hit solo (Han?) homers in the bottom of the fifth inning. Buffalo responded in the sixth with three runs courtesy of Samad Taylor, Vinny Capra, and a sacrifice fly from Otto Lopez.

Bobby Bradley, the game’s designated hitter, gave the home team their last push at the bottom of the seventh inning. With Brennan at second and Will Benson at third, he drove in Benson for a walkoff win.

The majority of the Clippers’ outs came from catches and good fielding as opposed to strikeouts. It is usually the pitchers that control the tempo of the game, and Tully held Buffalo scoreless for five and a half innings straight. However, a remarkable part of his performance happened off of the mound. At the top of the first, he played a key part in a fielder’s choice out that went zig-zag between him, Collins, Fry, and Tolman just to close the inning. A lot of Saturday’s win can be attributed to Bradley’s gatekeeping at first base and Freeman at second.

Velocity

LHP Tanner Tully 

1st inning 90, 91,  90, 91, 84, 83, 90, 83, 91, 81, 90, 86, 82

2nd inning 90, 90, 80, 80, 91, 80, 91, 82, 90, 80, 91, 91, 91, 90, 89, 91, 81

3rd inning 89, 80, 80, 83, 90, 84, 79, 76, 90, 81

4th inning 74, 79, 80, 90, 90, 80, 81,73

5th inning 89, 89, 89, 90, 74, 90, 74, 80, 91, 75, 81, 81,79 

6th inning 77, 72, 89, 75, 77, 90, 79, 88, 77, 90, 82, 89, 90, 82, 82, 90, 79, 81, 90, 91, 91, 91, 92, 91, 92

LHP Alex Young

6th inning 85 

7th inning 89, 85, 83, 91, 82, 82, 84, 86, 83

The Clippers face the Bisons again Sunday, May 29 at 1 p.m.

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