It took 11 innings, but the Clippers completed their series sweep of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs with a 4-3 victory on Sunday night.
While the sunshine may have been drawn a crowd, many fans took advantage of an opportunity to see Bret Michaels perform at the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion after the game. Fans were allowed into the concert for $5 with a Clippers ticket stub.
The IronPigs came out swinging as Rich Thompson and Chris Duffy led off the first inning with doubles off of the right field wall. Cody Ransom brought in the first run for the IronPigs with a sacrifice fly to left field.
Clippers pitcher Yohan Pino limited the damage though, striking out two and holding the IronPigs to one run in the top of the first inning.
The Clippers offense came alive in the bottom of the second inning with some production from the bottom of the lineup. A walk by Jordan Brown followed by three straight hits and a sacrifice fly put the Clippers ahead of the IronPigs 3-1.
Pino didn’t allow any more runs until the sixth inning when Ransom hit a two-run home run to tie the score at 3-3.
Frank Herrmann came on in relief with two outs in the top of the sixth to relieve Pino.
Pino had a strong outing, pitching 6 2/3 innings, allowing six hits, three runs and four walks while striking out five.
“Pino pitched six solid innings,” Clippers manager Mike Sarbaugh said. “He just left that one pitch up in the zone.”
Herrmann continued his pitching dominance against the IronPigs. Coming into the game, Herrmann had a 0.36 ERA with a 2-0 record and 18 strikeouts.
Herrmann closed out the seventh inning with a strikeout and forced all three hitters in the eighth into groundouts.
Joe Smith pitched the ninth for the Clippers. His submarine-style delivery kept the IronPigs off the scoreboard.
The Clippers turned to reliever Jess Todd in the top of the tenth inning. Todd allowed a single to the leadoff hitter, and had runners on first and second with one out but worked his way out of the jam to keep the IronPigs from scoring.
The Clippers had their chances with a runner in scoring position in the tenth, but IronPigs reliever Ryan Vogelsong kept the Clippers from scoring.
Josh Judy pitched the 11th inning for the Clippers. Dane Sardinha started the inning with a single. Catcher Carlos Santana made a diving catch on a bunt by Brian Bocock to get the first out.
“That was awesome,” Sarbaugh said. “Just watching that replay, he (Santana) had determination going after that ball. It was pretty impressive. That could’ve been the game-changer right there.”
Judy then struck out Luis Maza and Rich Thompson to get out of the inning.
Jordan Brown led off the bottom of the 11th with a double to right-center field. A sacrifice bunt by Chris Gimenez put the winning run on third base with one out.
Vogelsong then intentionally walked Nick Weglarz to face Anderson Hernandez. Hernandez hit a fly ball to center field but it wasn’t far enough to bring the runner in from third base.
The Clippers then had Brian Buscher pinch hit for Josh Rodriguez and he hit a game-winning single to left field for the Clippers, completing the sweep.
“It is tough to pinch hit,” Sarbaugh said. “But one good thing about it was that he was starting to get hot in the ninth so he had a couple innings to get really loose. I’m happy for Brian to get that chance.”
The Clippers almost ran out of relief pitchers in the game. Sarbaugh said Jeremy Sowers went into the dugout to put his cleats on just in case.
“We were going to try to get one more inning out of Judy,” Sarbaugh said. “Best case scenario, you don’t want him to go after pitching yesterday. But Vinnie (Pestano) threw two days in a row and he’s coming off of injury so we were in a tough spot. Thank goodness for Brian Buscher.”