For a moment Tuesday night it seemed as if the Louisville Bats were finally picking themselves up off the mat and regaining some fight. The Bats scored four runs in the seventh inning to cut the Norfolk Tides’ lead to 5-4. Norfolk responded with a knockout punch in the eighth to the tune of six runs, making the score 11-4, the final margin.
After Bill Hall reached on a throwing error, Joe Mahoney and Chris Robinson delivered back-to-back singles, the second of which scored Hall. Jai Miller then doubled home Mahoney to make it 7-4. Three batters later, Xavier Avery squashed all chances the Bats had with a two-run double. The Tides would get two more runs in the inning.
This all came after the Bats seemed to have found some life. Neftali Soto and Bill Rhinehart both singled with two outs and Chris Valaika doubled home Soto to make the score 5-1. Mike Costanzo then bombed a two-run double to center field chopping the lead to 5-3. Two batters later, Corky Miller singled home Costanzo for the Bats’ final run.
The Bats, who were playing from behind for the fifth straight game, fell to 10-23 on the season while Norfolk improved to 14-17. It’s the first time since the 2005 season the Bats have been 13 games under the .500 mark.
Avery blasted a two-run homer in the first to put the Tides on the board first. The Tides would get three more in the sixth on a bases loaded double by Mahoney and a sacrifice fly by Robinson.
Bats starter Sean Gallagher (1-3) went 5-plus innings giving up five runs on five hits. Carlos Fisher pitched two scoreless innings, giving the Bats a chance. Ron Mahay began the eighth on the hill for the Bats was removed after just two batters. Jordan Smith, who relieved Mahay, was charged with four of the six runs in eighth. Josh Judy pitched a scoreless ninth.
The two teams have a quick turnaround Wednesday for an Education Day at Louisville Slugger Field. Pedro Villarreal will be making his highly anticipated Triple-A debut for the Bats while the Tides send Steve Johnson (1-1, 2.38 ERA) to the bump. Villarreal was 11-7 with a 4.39 ERA in 27 starts in the 2011 season and is 1-2 with a 3.57 ERA in six starts with Double-A Pensacola this season. First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 11:05 a.m.
Photo Credit: Max Sharp