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Bisons earn 4-3 walk-off victory over Columbus Clippers

STAFF REPORTS

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Tim Lopes delivered the game-winning hit in walk-off fashion as the Bisons needed 10 innings to take the rubber match of a three-game set against the Clippers from Coca-Cola Field Thursday afternoon in a 4-3 win.

"I had faced him [Clippers' reliever Luke Eubank] the at-bat previously, so I knew what type of stuff he had," Lopes said about the at-bat. "He has really good stuff. He threw me two tough sliders for the first two pitches and, you know, at that point, I'm just trying to get something to the outfield or even just put something in play and hopefully find a hole," he continued. "Luckily, he left a fastball up that I was able to just flick to right field."

Because of the new extra-innings rule, the Bisons had a runner at second base to start the inning. Reese McGuire was supposed to be the base runner after being the last Bison to make an out in the previous inning, but Gift Ngoepe pinch ran for him.

Darnell Sweeney led off the 10th and chopped a ball to a drawn-in Adam Rosales, who touched first for the unassisted putout. After Ian Parmley was intentionally walked, Lopes stepped to the plate with the one-out opportunity. He came through for the Herd, lifting a fly ball deep enough to right field to score Ngoepe on a sacrifice fly to win the game.

After losing a grip on their original 2-0 lead, the Bisons plated one run in the ninth to even the game at three. The Herd was able to tie the game with some help from the Columbus defense as they committed two errors in the inning.

Lopes reached base on a throwing error by Rosales, who entered the game in the ninth. Then, Roemon Fields was drilled by a pitch in the foot while trying to bunt. After Richard Urena dropped down a sacrifice bunt to push Lopes and Fields into scoring position, Randal Grichuk was intentionally walked to load the bases.

One batter later, Jason Leblebijian scorched a hot-shot to second baseman Eric Stamets that was barely knocked down but trickled far enough to allow Lopes to score.

"These guys never stop. They keep going and keep going," Bisons' skipper Bobby Meacham said after the game. "Even though we weren't going good earlier, some guys weren't swinging the bat well, but they were working hard to get there." "It just shows up on a game like today when you just keep working hard and keep looking for good results, and that's what you saw today," Meacham said.

Fields went 3-4 in the game, adding three singles and an RBI to his final line. Randal Grichuk went 1-4 as the designated hitter. His hit came in the third inning when he hit a broken-bat flare to left field.

Bisons' starter Chris Rowley held the Clippers hitless until the third inning and scoreless until the fifth inning when Columbus snatched a 3-2 lead. All the RBI came with two outs in the frame.

Rowley entered the fifth with a two-run lead until Todd Hankins' double plated the first run. He later crossed the plate as the second run after a throwing error on his successful steal of third. Yu Chang doubled in Lonnie Chisenhall for the third run of the inning--his fourth two-bagger in the last two games.

The Bisons will now play a three-game series at home against the Charlotte Knights to conclude their homestand. First pitch for Friday night's game is slated for 7:05 p.m.