LOUISVILLE, Ky. – In the first of five games in four days, the Indianapolis Indians and Louisville Bats went back and forth at Louisville Slugger Field on Monday night.
The teams combined for 23 hits and the lead changed a total of four times as the Indians prevailed with a 7-6 win in the series opener.
Louisville was first to lead in the game, getting a run in the bottom of the second inning. Ivan De Jesus Jr. singled to left field off of Indianapolis starter Chris Volstad, giving the Bats an early 1-0 advantage.
The Indians answered right back in the top of the third, tying the game at one run each on a Steve Lombardozzi RBI single against Louisville starter David Holmberg.
In the fifth, the Tribe ended Holmberg’s outing by breaking the tie with a three-run inning.
The rally started with Holmberg walking Volstad and Pedro Florimon sending him to third on a one-out double. Jose Tabata then knocked Holmberg out of the game with a RBI single to right that put the Indians ahead 2-1. Nick Christiani came on in relief of Holmberg, but could not limit the damage. Deibinson Romero scored Florimon on a sacrifice fly and Lombardozzi made it 4-1 with a run-scoring single to left.
Indianapolis’ lead did not last long, however, as the Bats responded with five runs in their half of the fifth.
Volstad gave up a leadoff single to Bryson Smith, but struck out the next two batters his faced. Unfortunately for Volstad, the third out of the frame was hard to come by.
De Jesus Jr. singled to left to score Smith, making it 4-2. With De Jesus Jr. on second after the throw home, Steve Selsky cut the Indians’ lead to one with a RBI single. Volstad would walk the next batter he faced, forcing the Tribe to call on A.J. Morris out of the Indianapolis bullpen. Eugenio Suarez and Christiani then hit back-to-back RBI doubles off of Morris, putting the Bats ahead 6-4 after five innings.
Volstad was charged with giving up five runs on eight hits in 4 2/3 innings for the Indians, but Indianapolis’ offense would save him from taking the loss.
A run was scored in a fourth straight half-inning when Florimon made it 6-5 with a run-scoring ground out against Christiani in the top of the sixth.
The Indians would score the game-deciding runs before recording a single out in the seventh against Louisville reliever Sam LeCure.
Romero led the frame off with a single, followed by Tony Sanchez and Lombardozzi drawing walks to load the bases. With Morris due to hit, Mel Rojas Jr. came to the plate as a pinch hitter and scored a pair of runners with a line drive single to center to give the Indians a 7-6 lead.
Brad Lincoln, Bobby LaFromboise and Blake Wood each chipped in a scoreless inning of work out of the Indianapolis bullpen to preserve the one-run advantage. The trio allowed just two hits and struck out seven batters as they secured the win for the Tribe.
Because their April 19 matchup was postponed due to rain, the Indians and Bats will play a doubleheader on Tuesday. The first of two seven-inning games will start at 11:05 a.m. at Louisville Slugger Field in Louisville. Indianapolis will send Casey Sadler (1-0, 2.08 ERA) to the mound for game one, with Charlie Leesman (3-1, 4.91 ERA) set to start game two for the Indians.