COLUMBUS CLIPPERS – 8 NORFOLK TIDES – 5
Eric Stamets started off the scoring for Columbus on Saturday driving in a run in his first at-bat with a RBI double. The Clippers would take the lead in the first after RBIs from both Stamets and Richie Shaffer and held it end-to-end. The Columbus offense put up eight runs, and forced Norfolk’s starter to exit the game after 2 1/3 innings, after scoring a combined nine runs in its past three games (1-2). Stamets continued the scoring in his next at-bat as he hit his second home run of the year, which drove in two runs. In his third plate appearance he had the opportunity to drive in yet another run after he hit a double down the left field line, however, Ronny Rodriguez was thrown out at home trying to score from first.
Stamets has been heating up at the plate as of late after going hitless in his last three games. The 25-year-old and Dublin, Ohio native, went two-for-three Friday night and also had a stolen base, which was just the Clippers’ second in the past 12 games, something that they have struggled with since Bradley Zimmer was called up 11 games ago.
“Offensively all night (Stamets) had good at-bats, ended up getting a walk in his last at-bat, double down the line for a potential RBI that they ended up making a really good play on and getting an out,” manager Chris Tremie said. “Great plate appearances tonight very consistent and also played very good defense.”
Stamets: 3-3, 2 R, 3 RBI, 1 BB
Rodriguez snaps streak with grand slam
Nellie Rodriguez snapped his 31 game streak with out a home run or RBI after a grand slam in the sixth inning. It was only his fourth home run of the season after hitting three in the first four games of the year. He also doubled his season total of RBIs with the homer. The hit was much needed for the 22-year-old as he went hitless in his last five games and is struggling through a 27 game strikeout streak.
“Really good to see him get that opportunity to get a pitch up in the zone and drive it out of the park,” Tremie said. “He’s very capable of doing that and hope to see a lot more of that as the year continues.”
Rodriguez: 1-4, 1 R, 4 RBI, 2 K
Merritt continues to prove himself as ace of rotation
Ryan Merritt put together another strong start for Columbus as he went five innings giving up only two runs on eight hits. Despite his second-most hits this season and having a season-low one strikeout, he managed to pick up the fourth win of the season.
After Saturday’s victory, Merritt’s ERA now stands at 3.99 as he is the only Columbus starter with an ERA less than 5. The rest of the starting rotation has posted a 6.07 ERA on the season allowing 94 ER in 139 1/3 innings.
“It was good for him, he didn’t have his best stuff tonight and he did give up a number of hits but damage control, he didn’t let it get out of hand he made pitches when he needed to,” Tremie said. “The most important thing is that he went out there with probably not his best stuff and still found a win to keep us in the game and win the game.”
Merritt: 5 IP, 8 H, 2 R/ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 103 pitches (65 strikes), W
Ryan Merritt 4th inning: 85 81 83 85 82 85 85 81 82 87 73 88 86 74 86 87 88 87
Ryan Merritt 5th inning: 86 87 74 88 82 86 85 87 86 87 88 83 86 81 85 85 84 81 85 81 87 86 83 88 85 89 83