By Josh Cook
Aroldis Chapman brought the heat, Danny Dorn brought the baserunning and Wilkin Castillo brought the big hit in the ninth inning Friday night for the Louisville Bats.
Chapman, the highly-touted left-handed pitching prospect, hit 105 miles per hour on the radar gun and struck out the side in the top of the ninth. In the bottom of the inning Dorn ran from first to third on a broken-bat bloop single and then scored on Castillo's line-drive single to left field to give Louisville a 2-1 win over Columbus at Louisville Slugger Field.
The victory ended the Bats' five-game losing streak to the Clippers and it gave Louisville (75-58) a 1 1/2-game lead over Columbus (74-60) in the International League West. Both teams have 10 games remaining in the regular season.
The final scheduled meeting of the season between the two teams was arguably the most exciting even though this was the eighth game between the Bats and Clippers decided by one run.
For the most part it was a pitchers' duel between Louisville left-hander Ben Jukich and Columbus righty Carlos Carrasco, who faced the Bats for the fifth time this season.
The game was scoreless until the fifth when Castillo singled with one out, moved to second on Dave Sappelt's two-out single, then scored when Zack Cozart followed with a single up the middle.
The Clippers tied the game in the sixth when Jose Constanza, the hero of Thursday night’s Clippers’ victory, doubled with one out. After Jukich walked Ezequiel Carrera former Bat Drew Sutton laced an RBI-single to left field to score Constanza.
Both starters got no-decisions despite seven strong innings. Each allowed one earned run and five hits apiece, while walking one. The only difference was that Jukich struck out seven, while Carrasco fanned six.
The teams remained tied at 1 until the ninth. In the top of the inning Chapman (9-6) stuck out the three batters he faced on a total of 14 pitches - nine of which registered 100 mph or higher. His fastest was a 105 mph toss that Columbus' Matt McBride fouled off. Chapman struck out McBride with his next pitch, this one 104 mph.
"That's the first time we've seen 105 on the gun," Louisville manager Rick Sweet said. "We've had scouts tell us they've gotten 105, but that's the first time we've seen it."
Then in the bottom of the inning Columbus reliever Saul Rivera (1-2) walked Dorn to start things off. After Todd Frazier flew out, Devin Mesoraco delivered a broken-bat bloop single over the head of Clippers shortstop Josh Rodriguez. As Rodriguez gave chase Dorn raced around second to third.
"The big part of the whole inning was Danny Dorn going from first base to third base," Sweet said. "That set up the whole inning. That's the play - hard, smart baserunning - that put them in dire straits."
Castillo lined Rivera's first pitch past a drawn-in Rodriguez for Louisville's fifth walk-off win of the season.
Castillo and Yonder Alonso led Louisville's seven-hit attack with two apiece.
The Bats lost slugger Juan Francisco on Friday when he was recalled by the parent Cincinnati Reds. Meanwhile right-handed pitcher Jordan Smith, who was optioned from the Reds earlier in the week, was added to the Bats’ roster. Smith pitched the eighth inning for Louisville, allowing only one hit.
The Bats begin a five-game split series, the first three games of which are at Slugger Field, against Toledo at 6:05 p.m. Saturday night. Right-hander Chad Reineke (9-7, 3.47 earned-run average) is slated to go for Louisville against southpaw Charlie Furbush (2-3, 5.63).
As always Saturday night will be Anheuser Busch Craft Beer "Happy Hour" with $2 Anheuser Busch Craft Beers from 5-6:30 p.m. The Broadfield Marchers will also provide live music. The first 2,000 fans in attendance will receive posters of veteran catcher Corky Miller. Additionally there will a special appearance by Christopher "Man in the Middle."