INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Indians (56-47) and Buffalo Bisons (46-53) played two at Victory Field on Friday night, with the Tribe picking up a pair of wins.
Indy rallied in their last at-bat to earn a 4-3 victory in game one and came back again in game two, erasing a 3-0 deficit to earn a 6-3 win. Their lead for first place in the IL West now grows to 1.5 games over Columbus and 2 games over Toledo.
The Indians were led in game one by starting pitcher Tyler Eppler, who tossed 6+ innings of three-run ball. Indy’s right-hander gave up seven hits and walked two, but was ultimately able to secure his tenth win of 2018. Eppler is just the second International League pitcher to reach the ten-win mark so far this year.
Eppler was in danger of being stuck at nine victories, however, before Indianapolis rallied to put him in line for the W.
The Tribe trailed the Bisons, 2-1, entering the sixth inning (there were only seven innings played in each contest). Jason Martin tied the score with a clutch two-out single before Wyatt Mathisen came through with the game’s deciding hit. Mathisen smoked a go-ahead two-run homer, putting the Indians ahead 4-2 with a bomb that soared over the 418 feet marker in center field.
Indy just did survive for a game one win, as reliever Dovydas Neverauskas was wild in the top of the seventh. Neverauskas walked two batters in the frame, gave up one single, allowed Buffalo to creep within a run at 4-3 and was faced with a bases loaded jam with two outs. Neverauskas wiggled off of the hook, though, getting the call on a 3-2 pitch to secure victory for the home team.
After playing as the home team in game one, the Indians served as the visitors in their own ballpark for game two to make up for an April rainout in Buffalo.
Casey Sadler took the ball for Indianapolis in the second game, but the Bisons were able to build a lead versus the righty. Buffalo knocked in a run in the second and two more in the third, claiming a three-run advantage early on.
Sadler ultimately worked all seven innings, surrendering three runs on seven hits and zero walks. It was a very efficient outing for Sadler, who tossed just 84 pitches, 59 for strikes. He also received a win thanks to another come-from-behind performance from Indianapolis’ batters.
The Tribe’s offense was held in check through five frames in game two, but momentum shifted in the sixth. Max Moroff led off with a triple and quickly scored a batter later, as Austin Meadows made it 3-1 with a RBI double. Jose Osuna came up with a single next and after Kevin Kramer notched a sacrifice fly, the Indians were only down by a score of 3-2.
But an active sixth inning for Indy didn’t stop there. Chris Bostick singled and Jason Martin walked, loading the bases with one out on the board. Ryan Lavarnway struck out swinging, but Mathisen was nailed by a pitch to force in the tying run. Kevin Newman followed with a groundout, ending the inning, but not before a three-spot made game two a whole new ballgame.
Meadows and Osuna were in the midst of another rally in the seventh, resulting in the go-ahead run. Meadows ripped a one-out double to put himself in scoring position, with Osuna digging in next and driving him in to hand the Indians a 4-3 edge. Later, Bostick doubled and Martin tripled to blow the game open at 6-3.
Indy will go for a fifth win in a row at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday evening. Mitch Keller (0-1, 10.66 ERA) will look to get the Tribe another victory over the Bisons.