A grand finish
The Bisons finally ended their losing streak tonight at Coca-Cola field defeating the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs 7-6 with the help of a walk-off grand slam from center fielder Fernando Martinez.
Martinez put an end to the Bisons longest losing streak of the season when he took a 1-2 offering from Iron Pigs pitcher Scott Mathieson deep to right and into the parking lot to give the Bisons a much needed victory.
The walk-off grand slam was only the second in the history of Coca-Cola Field. The only other occurrence was when Marcos Scutaro hit one against Syracuse on August 2, 1999 to give the Herd a 7-3 win.
When the Iron Pigs scored early the Bisons were forced to play catch-up. Right fielder John Mayberry Jr. scored after first baseman Andy Tracy hit a double to left field to give Lehigh Valley an early advantage.
After the Bisons tied the game in the fourth behind a double from catcher Josh Thole, the Iron Pigs surged ahead again in the sixth inning. Second baseman Melvin Dorta hit a two RBI double to center to give Lehigh Valley a 4-2 advantage.
It did not take long for the Bisons to respond however as Thole hit a solo home run to pull the Herd to within one run.
For the day Thole had one of his most productive seasons at the plate, going 3-3 with two doubles along with his solo shot.
The Iron Pigs would add what they thought to be two more insurance runs in the eighth inning when third baseman Cody Ransom hit a two-run blast to left field, his 15th home run of the season.
The Bisons had a chance to chip away at the three run lead in the bottom half of the eighth. Newly acquired left fielder Lucas Duda reached base on a fielders choice. Following Duda, Thole and short stop Andy Green drew walks to load the bases for J.R House. House who was pinch hitting watched the third strike go by as the Iron Pigs avoided the threat without any damage being done.
The following inning the Herd would again load the bases, giving them one more shot to end the losing streak. Right fielder Russ Adams started the rally when he led off the inning with a walk. Second baseman Justin Turner followed him and while Turner got out, his at-bat was crucial in what transpired after.
Turner’s at-bat consisted of 12 pitches. Turner fouled off seven pitches in his plate apperance before finally flying out to center field. While Turner was unable to get on base, his at-bat wore down Mathieson.
Following Turner was first baseman Mike Jacobs and third baseman Mike Cervenak who both singled to load the bases for the second consecutive inning.
Martinez followed Turner’s suit by fouling off the first four pitches and letting a ball go by before he won the game with his deep shot to right field.
Because of the extended at-bats, Mathieson was forced to throw 36 pitches in only two thirds of an inning. The Herd was able to overwork the reliever and it finally paid off when Martinez took the 36th pitch over Heron’s Landing to end the Herd’s losing skid and etch his name into the Bisons history books.
The win now puts the Herd at 34-31 and the loss drops Lehigh Valley to 25-39.
BISONS NOTES: With his two doubles, Thole surpassed third baseman Mike Hessman for the team lead in doubles. Thole now has 18 on the season. The Bisons will end their four game series with the Iron Pigs tomorrow when right hander Dylan Owen (2-2, 6.11 ERA) takes on Lehigh Valley’s left hander Joe Savey (1-6, 4.88 ERA) tomorrow night at 7:05 p.m.