Columbus Clips Chiefs 3-2 in Ten Innings
Published on June 4, 2017
Story by Mike Drew
Photos by Jake Lapin
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — NBT Bank Stadium was rocking. A near-capacity 10,369 patrons were in attendance to see the Chiefs (17-34) take on the Columbus Clippers (26-29) in the second of a 3-game weekend set.
It was Little League night at the ballpark and countless local youngsters paraded around the warning track prior to the game’s first pitch.
“With all these people here, these are the games you have to win,” Syracuse General Manager Jason Smorol said.
His team didn’t.
Despite the Chiefs’ rally to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth, a Chris Colabello solo home run put the Clippers back on top in the tenth, leading to a 3-2 victory.
Syracuse starter Sean O’Sullivan lasted only three innings Saturday night.
When he was removed, it was unclear as to why. No injury was announced and he had held the Clippers scoreless and allowed only two hits.
After the game, it was revealed that O’Sullivan was the latest victim of a stomach bug spreading quickly and violently around the Chiefs’ clubhouse.
“We were very concerned that he could even go out and start tonight,” Chiefs manager Billy Gardner said. “He gave us everything he had.”
As a result, the Syracuse bullpen had to chip in more than originally expected.
For the most part, it did just fine. Cody Satterwhite went three innings in relief and Trevor Gott and Rafael Martin each pitched two.
“Those guys went out there and gave us some much needed innings,” Gardner said. “We were pretty short down there.”
Another victim of the bug was First Baseman Matt Skole.
“It sucks,” he said. “I actually got it last night and didn’t get much sleep.”
It didn’t show.
Skole was the best offensive contributor for the Chiefs all night. He answered an RBI single by Columbus’ Jeremy Lucas with a solo homer into the party porch in right in the bottom of the fourth.
He later ripped a double down the right field line in the sixth.
“I was just trying to keep it simple and get a good pitch to hit, put a good swing on it,” Skole said. “And whatever happens, happens.”
Colabello punched a 2-out RBI single off of Gott to give Columbus a 2-1 lead in the seventh.
The lead held until the ninth.
Righty Shawn Armstrong was brought in to try to close things out for the Clippers. Catcher Jhonatan Solano led off the frame with a single to center. Pedro Severino then pinch-ran for him and took second base on a wild pitch.
Right fielder Joey Butler followed with another single and Severino was held at third, placing the tying run 90 feet away with nobody out.
Then came Center Fielder Andrew Stevenson’s at-bat.
The left-hand batter hit a sharp grounder to third. Columbus’ Giovanny Urshela got Butler out at second. Then, second baseman Todd Hankins threw to first, but Stevenson beat it out.
At that point, Severino decided to charge home. Hankins threw there, but the ball went underneath Catcher Erik Kratz’s glove and seemingly disappeared.
Severino scored safely and Stevenson took second base before the ball was ever found.
After all that, the Chiefs couldn’t get the winning run in. Third Baseman Grant Green grounded out to third and Shortstop Irving Falu bounced out to second.
“We just couldn’t get the big hit and that was pretty much the difference in the game,” Gardner said.
The Colabello homer came in the next half-inning and right-hander Jeff Johnson retired the Chiefs in order in the bottom of the tenth to earn the save.
The Chiefs will try to salvage the final game of the series Sunday at 1:05. Right-hander Greg Ross (4-3, 5.69 ERA) will go for Syracuse against the Clippers’ Julian Merryweather.