Tonawanda News — BUFFALO — Fans at Coca-Cola Field in downtown Buffalo had to wait a while longer for their traditional “Fridaynightbash” fireworks. For the first time this season, the Buffalo Bisons needed extra innings to decide a game.
Those among the 10,249 fans who stayed for the ending, many of them Boy Scouts and families who were on hand for an overnight campout on the field, were treated to a big finish when Andy LaRoche doubled to center in the bottom of the 12th inning to give the Bisons a 4-3 win over the Louisville Bats.
“He had a couple of good pitches and then I was trying to stay short with it,” said LaRoche of his extra-innings showdown with Bats pitcher Mike MacDougal, who surrendered the walk-off winner. “He threw one down the middle, good thing I connected on it. It’s a good thing he (Louisville centerfielder Billy Hamilton) couldn’t track it down.”
Hamilton gave chase but was not quite fast enough to make the play, allowing Mauro Gomez to round thirds base and bring home Buffalo’s winning run.
The 12th inning thriller was made possible because twice Buffalo could not take advantage of loaded bases to bring home the go-ahead run, in the eighth and ninth innings. The Herd wouldn’t panic, though.
“Those guys just keep battling every single day,” said Bisons hitting coach Jon Nunnally, who spoke at the team’s postgame media briefing in place of the ejected manager Marty Brown. “We’ve got the utmost confidence in all these guys.”
Buffalo took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning when catcher Josh Thole smacked a one-run shot over the right field fence.
Louisville responded in the top of the fifth when Josh Fellhauer doubled, and then advanced to third on Konrad Schmidt’s single. Billy Hamilton then grounded to Buffalo shortstop Mike McCoy, who touched second base for the first out. His throw to first was off the mark, allowing Hamilton to reach safely while Fellhauer came home to score the game-tying run.