INDIANAPOLIS – Following a tough 1-0 loss to the Louisville Bats (33-50) on Sunday, the Indianapolis Indians (47-36) rebounded to claim a series victory in front of 14,067 fans on Monday night.
The Tribe battled for a 5-4 win at Victory Field, thanks in part to Louisville leaving ten runners on base, and took three of four games in the series from the Bats.
Indianapolis jumped out in front early with a pair of two-run homers against Bats starting pitcher Robert Stephenson.
In the first, it was Erich Weiss who did the honors, smacking a long ball over the right center field wall to make it 2-0 after Chris Bostick led off with a double. Then in the third, Jordan Luplow drove in Weiss with his first ever Triple-A home run.
Tribe starter Tyler Eppler kept the Bats scoreless through Monday’s first four innings, but Louisville eventually found success versus the righty.
Chad Wallach broke the seal in the fifth with a leadoff home run, while a two-out triple from Phillip Ervin later in the frame got the Bats within two runs at 4-2.
That two-run fifth was enough to end Eppler’s night, who finished with a final line of two runs allowed on five hits and a walk.
Brett McKinney took over for Eppler in the sixth, as Louisville trimmed their deficit down to 4-3. Wallach was in the middle of this rally as well, as his two-out knock kept the inning alive for Zach Vincej with a couple of runners on. Vincej took advantage, ripping a single to center.
Clinging to a one-run lead, the Indians got a big insurance run in the bottom of the seventh.
Consecutive one-out singles from Bostick and Weiss put the Tribe in business and when Dilson Herrera could not handle a grounder by Luplow, Bostick raced home to push Indy ahead 5-3.
That insurance run proved to be really big, as the Bats answered in the eighth with another two-out run. Vincej tripled to right, bringing home Alex Blandino for Louisville’s third two-out RBI of the ballgame.
The Bats still would not go down quietly in the ninth, making the Tribe sweat until the bitter end. Indianapolis reliever Johnny Barbato issued two walks in the game’s final frame, but was able to get Darnell Sweeney to fly out to Justin Maffei (who made a leaping catch at the wall) and leave the tying run in scoring position to end the game.
Louisville outhit the Indians 11-10, but Indy picked up just their ninth win of the season when posting fewer hits than their opponent. The Tribe also earned their 14th one-run victory of 2017, bringing their record in such contests to the .500 mark (14-14).
Indianapolis wraps up a nine-game homestand with their annual 4th of July home game on Tuesday. First pitch against the second-place Columbus Clippers is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. and the red-hot Steven Brault (7-3, 2.04 ERA) will climb the hill for the Indians.