The Louisville Bats snapped a frustrating five game losing streak Wednesday afternoon with a 6-5 win over the Norfolk Tides. Pedro Villarreal, who started for the Bats, was impressive in his Triple-A debut going 5.2 innings giving up five runs, only two of which were earned, on six hits while striking out seven.
The Bats allowed their opponents to score first for the sixth straight game but came back strong with a pair of three run innings to back their young starter.
The big inning came in the fourth. After the Bats’ 3-1 lead was cut to 3-2 in the top half of the inning, Danny Dorn walked to lead off the bottom half of the inning and was pushed to third by Chris Valaika’s single. Dorn would score on a Mike Costanzo base hit. Two batters later, Kristopher Negron flied out to center allowing Valaika to tag up and score from third. Denis Phipps capped the scoring in the fourth with an RBI double that made it 6-2.
The Tides would not go away. In the sixth, after a fielding error by Felix Perez, Joe Mahoney ripped a two-run double to left field chopping the lead to 6-4. Mahoney then scored on a base hit from Ryan Adams that made the score 6-5.
Bats reliever Kanekoa Texiera got in a bit of trouble in the seventh and was removed in favor of Nick Christiani with two on and one out in the inning. Christiani delivered and induced a groundball double play on one pitch to end the inning.
Christiani, Travis Webb, and Jordan Smith combined to go the final two innings perfect to preserve the lead for the Bats and get Villarreal the win in his debut.
After Xavier Avery scored on a Jamie Hoffman sacrifice fly in the first, the Bats rallied in the second to take the lead. Bill Rhinehart led off the inning with his second home run of the season. After Neftali Soto was hit by a pitch, Dorn walked, and Valaika singled home Soto for the Bats’ first lead of the game. Dorn would score on a sacrifice fly by Dioner Navarro to cap the Bats’s second. They would never trail again.
The two teams wrap up their four game series, and season series, Thursday night. The Bats (11-23) are set to send Chad Reineke (1-1, 4.13 ERA) to the mound against Brad Bergeseen (0-2, 6.04 ERA). First pitch is set for 6:35.
Photo Credit: Max Sharp