A big fourth inning helped Lehigh Valley take a 5-2 win over the Buffalo Bisons at Coca-Cola Field Sunday afternoon.
The Herd has just two wins in their last 10 games. Lehigh Valley improved to 80-55 overall, becoming the second club in the International League to reach the 80-win mark this season along with IL North Division leader Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Early lead: The Bisons took a 1-0 lead in the first, cashing in a leadoff double from Dalton Pompey on a sacrifice fly from Darrell Ceciliani.
Big inning: The IronPigs scored four run sin the third off Bisons starter Mike Bolsinger. With the bases loaded and one out, Darin Ruf and Andrew Knapp had back-to-back base hits followed by a two-run double from Brock Stassi.
Allenson on Bolsinger: "Tough-hitting club," Bisons manager Gary Allenson said. "They made him throw a lot of pitches. He probably needs to get the ball down a little better. Had a pretty good breaking ball for the most part today. They just wore you down."
Mistakes will cost you: With two outs and one on in the sixth, Lehigh Valley reliever Colton Murray hit Jesus Montero. That put Ceciliani in scoring position, which is exactly what he did on a Matt Dominguez single. The run cut the IronPigs lead to 4-2.
Rally falls short: The Bisons had two runners on with no outs in the seventh but a pair of fly outs to center and a strike out (looking) by Ryan Goins stranded the runners on the corners.
Extending the lead: With two outs and runners on the corners in the eighth, Taylor Featherston had his third hit of the day to knock in another run and give the IronPigs a three-run (5-2) cushion.
Striking out: The Bisons struck out eight times Sunday afternoon with Andy Burns, A.J. Jimenez and Goins each getting rung up twice. Still, the Herd hasn't struck out much this season. They came into the game with 814 -- 113 fewer than any other team in the International League. Seven teams in the IL have more than 1,000 on the season.
Double plays: While the Bisons don't strike out much, they do hit into double plays. They didn't on Sunday, keeping their number at 149 for the season, which still leads all of affiliated baseball.
Looking Lively: Lehigh Valley starter Ben Lively improved to 10-5 giving up one run on two hits with seven strike outs in five innings. "Lively's a tough pitcher. We've seen him a few times," Bisons' manager Gary Allenson said. "He's got some good stuff. Probably going to be a big-leaguer.
Roster moves: Starting pitcher Chris Leroux was released on Sunday. He went 8-11 in 26 starts for the Herd this season. Saturday night he gave up seven runs in the first inning. He had a 4.87 ERA with 93 strike outs and 46 walks. Also Aaron Loup has cleared waivers and has been optioned to the Bisons.
Counting the house: There were 8.226 at Coca-Cola Field for the last afternoon game of the season.
Up next: The series concludes Monday (7:05 p.m.) with righty Casey Lawrence (4-5, 3.95) scheduled to start against righty Nick Pivetta (0-1, 2.40). The Bisons conclude their homestand with a three-game series against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre beginning Tuesday.