INDIANAPOLIS – Opening Night on Friday saw the Indianapolis Indians (1-1) waste a great start. In game number two on Saturday, the Tribe made another fantastic start count.
Tyler Eppler punched out a career-high ten strikeouts over the course of 5.2 shutout innings, and on this night everything went well behind Indy’s starting pitcher. Indianapolis churned out ten runs on 12 hits and the Indians’ bullpen was solid, leading the home team to a 10-0 win over the Columbus Clippers (1-1).
Eppler was hitting his spots all night long in this one. The right-hander allowed Columbus to spray six hits, and he walked one batter, but blanked them in his 5.2 innings of work. He also one-upped Indy’s Opening Day starter Nick Kingham, who tied a career-high with ten strikeouts last night, by setting a new career best in strikeouts with ten of his own.
Just like Kingham, Eppler had to work out of a few jams to complete a scoreless night of work.
In the third, Eppler had to strike out 12-year MLB veteran Mike Napoli to strand runners on second and third. Then in the fourth, the righty escaped a bases loaded pickle. The Clippers notched three singles in the inning, but Eppler got Greg Allen to ground out to thwart the threat.
Indianapolis’ batters gave Eppler the run support he needed with two runs in each the second and fourth innings.
In the second, the Indians got a big two-out knock from Kevin Newman. With runners on second and third, Newman dumped a two-run single into right to give the home team a 2-0 edge. Then in the fourth, a walk and two doubles made it 4-0. Jacob Stallings and Eric Wood came up with those RBI two-baggers.
All four of those runs were charged to Columbus starter Adam Plutko. The right-hander pitched five innings for the Clips, giving up six hits and three walks.
Just for good measure, Indy paid the Clippers back for their nine-run sixth inning on Friday. The Indians laid five runs on Columbus in Saturday’s sixth inning, effectively ending this contest.
Stallings drilled his second RBI double of the night. Newman doubled home a run, as well, bringing his RBI total to three. Austin Meadows saw a hard-hit RBI single fall in. Jose Osuna drew a bases loaded walk. Max Moroff singled home one last run.
By the time the rally was put to an end, the Tribe owned a comfortable 9-0 lead. A run-scoring wild pitch in the eighth got Indy to double-figures
After imploding for 11 runs allowed on Friday, Indianapolis’ bullpen looked much better on Saturday.
Richard Rodriguez fired 2.1 innings of scoreless ball, sitting down all seven batters he faced (five by strikeout). Tyler Jones then climbed the mound in the ninth, shutting the door on Columbus 1-2-3.
The rubber game of this season-opening series is scheduled for a 1:35 p.m. start on Sunday. Alex McRae will make his Triple-A debut on the hill for the Indians.