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Clippers take series opener over Herd, 4-3

STAFF REPORTS


Santiago Espinal recorded his first Triple-A hit and Andy Burns homered, but it wasn't enough offense as the Bisons bats fell silent in the second half of a 4-3 loss to the Clippers, Friday night at Huntington Park.
The Herd was kept off the scoreboard after the third inning, giving Columbus the chance to rally from two runs down to earn the victory in the series opener.
While they couldn't find a way to score late in the game, the Bisons were able to find success crossing the plate early on. They scored their first of three runs in the second inning when Espinal doubled home Socrates Brito for his first career Triple-A hit and RBI. Brito opened the frame with a drag-bunt single on the first pitch he saw. Michael De La Cruz then moved him to second with a sacrifice bunt before Espinal's extra-base hit.
Burns gave Buffalo the 3-1 lead with a two-run homer in the third after Eric Haase tied the game in the bottom half of the second with an RBI double. Burns' 13th longball of the season puts him two away from tying his career-high in professional baseball in the United States. The infielder hit 15 in 2013 between Single-A Dunedin and Double-A New Hampshire and also saw 15 leave the ballpark in 2014 with the FisherCats.
Columbus didn't let the Herd have an advantage long as Jake Bauers walked and Mark Mathiassingled before Ryan Flaherty singled in Bauers to narrow the margin to one in the home half of the third. Andrew Sopko escaped further damage after he got Yu Chang to hit into an inning-ending double play.
The fourth frame saw its final blow come in a large fashion for the Clippers when Ka'ai Tom hit a two-run home run that ended up being the deciding factor in the ballgame. The remaining four and a half innings saw a combined five hits and one walk between the two clubs.
Despite giving up all four runs, Andrew Sopko kept the Clippers bats relatively quiet, holding them to five hits and three walks. Unfortunately for Sopko though, all three batters who reached base on the free passes - Bauers, Chang and Daniel Johnson - all came around to score.

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