LOUISVILLE, Ky. – It was not a sweep, but the Indianapolis Indians‘ (42-32) doubleheader success continued on Saturday.
The Tribe split a double dip with the Louisville Bats (29-45), with Indy picking up a 4-2 decision in game one and the Bats rallying to score a 8-4 victory in game two. With Saturday’s split, Indianapolis has yet to drop both games in five doubleheaders played this season (3-0-2).
Game one featured plenty of early scoring.
The Indians got it started in the top of the first, taking a 1-0 lead thanks to a RBI single from Erich Weiss. Louisville answered swiftly, though, plating two in their half of the first. Tribe starting pitcher Steven Brault found himself in trouble after a walk and a single and Tony Renda made him pay, shooting a two-run single up the middle to give the Bats a 2-1 advantage.
Indy responded in the top of the second, with Brault helping his own cause. Eury Perez led off the inning with a single and after later swiping second base, Brault ripped a double to left to tie the game. The Tribe’s ERA leader actually entered Saturday’s twinbill with a 1.000 batting average (1-for-1).
While Brault helped himself at the plate, he helped his team even more on the mound. The southpaw turned in six solid innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and three walks. The 25-year-old has not surrendered more than two runs in an outing since April 27.
Brault ended up earning his team best sixth win, as well, as the Indians grabbed the lead in the fifth.
Indianapolis struck quickly in the fifth, as Chris Bostick led off with a triple and scored a batter later on a sacrifice fly from Danny Ortiz. The Tribe then added insurance in the sixth, pushing their cushion to 4-2. Eric Wood got things started with a double and after advancing to third on a sacrifice bunt from Perez, Jackson Williams extended the visitors’ lead with a RBI single.
Casey Sadler climbed the hill in the seventh, but was unable to finish game one off. The righty issued a leadoff walk and served up a two-out single, forcing the Indians to call on Dovydas Neverauskas with the winning run coming to bat. Neverauskas delivered, striking out Cedric Hunter to preserve the 4-2 victory for the Tribe.
Louisville seized control of game two with a three-run first inning, but the Indians fought back to grab the lead.
Weiss doubled to make it 3-1 in the fourth, while a two-bagger from Ortiz in the fifth cut the Bats’ advantage down to 3-2. Then in the sixth, a run-scoring wild pitch and a successful squeeze bunt left Indianapolis with a 4-3 lead.
Unfortunately for the Tribe, that 4-3 lead would not last.
Game two starter Tyler Eppler bounced back nicely after giving up three first inning runs, but the Bats knocked him out of the ballgame in the bottom of the sixth. Eppler served up a triple and a game-tying single to the first two batters of the frame, ending his evening. Josh Lindblom took over for Eppler and experienced similar results, as four Louisville batters recorded RBI knocks to put the home team ahead for good at 8-4.
Eppler was hit with the loss, surrendering five runs on eight hits and a walk in five innings of work. The right-hander has had a rough go of it lately, seeing his ERA rise from 3.22 to 4.22 in just two starts (12 earned runs in 10 1/3 innings pitched).
The Indians aim to win the series on Sunday night, as a four-game set from Louisville Slugger Field concludes. Drew Hutchison (4-2, 3.57 ERA) gets the ball for Indy in the 6:05 p.m. contest.