Carter blasts Buffalo to victory

First place belongs to the Buffalo Bisons.

The Herd took sole possession of the top spot in the International League North division with a thrilling 6-4, 10-inning victory over the Louisville Bats on Sunday afternoon from Coca-Cola Field. Chris Carter’s two-run walk-off home run capped a dramatic comeback as Buffalo collected its fifth consecutive victory.

The last time the Herd was alone in first place was July 16, 2007 when they were 51-38.

Buffalo’s climb to the top on Sunday wasn’t easy, especially as the Bats took a 4-2 lead in the top of the 10th inning on Juan Francisco’s two-run home run. Surprisingly, it was a pair of hustle plays that got the Herd’s potent offense started.

With one out, Jason Pridie chopped a two-hopper to first base, but Louisville’s Drew Sutton hesitated for just a split second. Instead of flipping to the pitcher, Sutton went to the bag himself, but was beaten by the speedy Bisons’ centerfield.

The next batter was Bisons shortstop Andy Green. Even though he doubled in each of his two previous at-bats, Green took advantage of a winded Jon Adkins and dropped a perfect bunt single in front of the Louisville closer.

That set the stage for the big bats in the Bisons’ order. After Mike Jacobs advanced the runners over with a groundout, Mike Hessman ripped a broken-bat single off the glove of Francisco at third. Pridie scored easily and Green reached his hand over the left-foot block of catcher Wilkin Castillo to tag home plate and tie the game.

After Adkins was immediately ejected for arguing the call, Carter hit a 2-1 slider from Chad Reineke into the Heron’s Landing Party Deck for the walk-off winner.

The game was knotted at two through nine innings as the Louisville Bats plated solo runs in the second and sixth innings. Hessman got the Bisons on the board with a two-run blast in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Hessman now has eight home runs and an International League-best 28RBI.

Dillon Gee started for the Herd and made the big pitches when he needed to. The righty allowed 10 hits but only two runs as Louisville stranded 10 bases runners. He walked one and struck out five.

Gee helped himself out with his glove. With a runner on first in the fifth inning, the starter fielded a grounder from Chris Valaika behind his back before turning a 1-6-3 doubleplay.

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