Early offense from the Lehigh Valley IronPigs proved to be too much for the Columbus Clippers, which lost Game 1 of the Governor’s Cup Championship series Tuesday, 5-2.
Clippers pitcher Zach McAllister (0-1) allowed five earned runs, 11 hits and a walk in his eight-plus innings of work in the series opener at Huntington Park. Lehigh Valley right fielder Brandon Moss provided all the offense the IronPigs needed with a three-run home run in the first inning.
“We got off to a tough start,” Clippers’ manager Mike Sarbaugh said after the game. “After he settled down, (McAllister) threw a really good game.”
IronPigs left fielder Scott Podsednik’s fourth-inning RBI hit scored catcher Erik Kratz in the second inning to up Lehigh Valley’s lead to 4-0.
A lack of scoring by the Clippers for the first four innings set a quiet and somber tone amongst the home fans. Columbus finally got to Lehigh Valley right-hander Scott Mathieson in the bottom of the fifth, though.
After setting the IronPigs down in order in the top of the frame, center fielder Tim Fedroff’s RBI single put Columbus on the board and scored catcher Paul Phillips, who singled to lead off the at-bat.
Clippers’ shortstop Juan Diaz then drove in a run on a fielder’s choice to halve Columbus’ deficit at 4-2. Second baseman Argenis Reyes, who doubled in the inning, scored on the play.
Mathieson (1-0) was relieved after the inning and finished the night having allowed two runs, six hits and two walks. The IronPigs’ bullpen combined to prevent the Clippers from scoring again, though.
McAllister’s night ended after allowing a home run to IronPigs’ infielder Cody Overbeck in the top of the ninth.
The Clippers’ offense came close to responding after Lehigh Valley closer Justin DeFratus entered the game in the final half-inning of play.
DeFratus gave up two one-out walks and Diaz singled later in the Columbus at-bat to load the bases with two outs for Clippers’ infielder Jared Goedert.
Goedert worked a full count against DeFratus, but eventually struck out swinging to end the game.
“It was a tight game, but they got on the board early,” Sarbaugh said. “We came in during the ninth and made it interesting. We just have to take it one game at a time.”
The Clippers will host the IronPigs on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. at Huntington Park for Game 2 of the series.
Wednesday’s pitching matchup
RHP Mitch Talbot (COL) versus RHP Nate Bump (LV)