INDIANAPOLIS – Just when it looked like the Indianapolis Indians would go down to the team with the worst record in the International League, the Tribe sent the fans at Victory Field on Saturday night home happy.
The Indians rallied from four runs down and defeated the Lehigh Valley IronPigs by a score of 6-5 thanks to a three-run ninth inning that was highlighted by a two-out, two-run walk-off single from Brent Morel.
The Indians went ahead early when Steve Lombardozzi hit a RBI single off of Lehigh Valley starting pitcher Adam Morgan in the bottom of the first. Indianapolis had the bases loaded with two outs in the frame, but failed to do additional damage after Morel ended the inning on a fly out in foul territory.
Entering Saturday’s game, the IronPigs had a record of 1-13 in games in which their opponent scored first. Lehigh Valley looked to be on their way to bucking that trend by scoring in each of the next four innings against Indians starter Chris Volstad.
Edgar Duran started the offensive attack for Lehigh Valley and put the IronPigs ahead 2-1 in the second with a double to right that scored a pair of runners.
In the third, Lehigh Valley took a 3-1 lead by doing something they had not done in their last 13 games. Brian Bogusevic crushed a pitch to right center off of Volstad, hitting the team’s first home run in nearly two weeks.
The IronPigs added another run in the fourth against Volstad, as Duran hit a RBI groundout for his second run batted in of the night.
Lehigh Valley scored a run for the fourth straight frame in the fifth when Morgan was able to beat out Alen Hanson‘s throw to the plate on a fielder’s choice off of Dominic Brown‘s bat.
Indianapolis was finally able to respond with a run of their own in their half of the fifth. Jose Tabata led off with a double and two batters later, Tony Sanchez came up with a two-out RBI single to make it 5-2 in favor of the IronPigs.
The Tribe then cut Lehigh Valley’s lead to two runs in the sixth when Hanson brought Gorkys Hernandez home on a sacrifice fly to center.
Volstad lasted six innings for the Indians, giving up five runs (four earned) on seven hits. Morgan went six innings as well, surrendering only three runs despite allowing ten hits.
Lehigh Valley’s bullpen preserved the two-run lead in the seventh and eighth, but the Tribe were able to rally against Hector Neris in the ninth.
Gustavo Nunez and Tabata led the frame off with back-to-back singles and after Deibinson Romero lined out, Lombardozzi drew a walk to load the bases. Sanchez grounded out for the second out of the inning, but Nunez scored on the play to shave the Indians’ deficit to just one run.
Morel followed by coming up clutch for the Tribe, hitting Neris’ first pitch of the at-bat to center to drive in Tabata and Lombardozzi to give Indianapolis the 6-5 walk-off victory. With Neris blowing the save, the IronPigs dropped to 1-14 on the season when allowing their opposition to score first.
The Indians will try to capitalize on their comeback win and sweep the IronPigs in the finale of the three-game series on Sunday. First pitch from Victory Field is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. with Casey Sadler (1-1, 2.84 ERA) set to start for the Tribe.