By Josh Cook
The Louisville Bats rode the right arm of Chad Reineke and 10 timely hits to a 1-0 lead over Durham in the Governors’ Cup playoffs.
Reineke pitched seven solid innings, while getting plenty of help from the Bats’ bats, as Louisville beat the Bulls 8-4 Wednesday night at Louisville Slugger Field. The best-of-five International League playoff series continues Thursday night.
Reineke gave up four runs (three earned) on five hits while walking two and striking out four against the team that had the IL’s best record (88-55) and highest-scoring offense (757) during the regular season.
Meanwhile the Bats scored four runs in the second inning, three in the sixth and one in the eighth against the team that led in the IL in earned-run average (3.56).
Durham, the reigning Governors’ Cup champ, drew first blood in the series. The Bulls, the IL South champs who are 4-0 all-time in postseason serieses, took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second when Reineke hit Joe Dillon with a pitch to start the inning. Dillon moved to second on a ground out, then scored on Nevin Ashley’s single.
But the Bulls’ lead didn’t last long.
Durham starter Richard De Los Santos walked Todd Frazier to start the bottom of the second. Sean Henry followed with a single before Mike Costanzo tied the game, scoring Frazier with an RBI-single. Henry, who moved to third on Costanzo’s hit, scored on Devin Mesoraco’s sacrifice fly. Eric Eymann reached base on a fielder’s choice, then scored on Kris Negron’s two-out triple. Dave Sappelt, the Southern League MVP who hit .324 after joining the Bats late in the regular season, followed with a double to score Negron and make it 4-1.
The Bulls pulled within 4-2 in the fourth when Joe Dillon reached on a throwing error by Eymann, Louisville’s third baseman, then scored on Leslie Anderson’s single.
Louisville, the three-time defending IL West champ, tallied three times in the sixth to chase De Los Santos, who went 14-5 with a 3.52 ERA during the regular season. He walked Frazier, then gave up a single to Henry before Costanzo hit a three-run homer to right field.
Anderson’s two-run homer, which made it 7-3 in the seventh, was one of the few mistakes by Reineke, who was 9-9 with a 3.91 ERA during the regular season but hadn’t won a game since Aug. 12.
Daniel Ray Herrera and Jared Burton backed Reineke with two innings of one-hit relief.
The Bats added some insurance in the eighth. Henry doubled with one out, moved to third on Luis Terrero’s ground out and scored on Mesoraco’s single.
Henry and Sappelt led Louisville with three hits apiece, while Constanzo had four RBIs.
The series continues at 6:05 p.m. Thursday at Slugger Field. Louisville left-hander Tom Cochran (0-0, 6.75 ERA in his only start with the Bats this season) is slated to take on Durham righty Aneury Rodriguez (6-5, 3.80).
Fans can enjoy $1 Budweiser and Bud Light, as well as live music from Timmy & Sharfe on the Overlook Deck, from 5-7 p.m.
Photo courtesy Louisville Bats