BUFFALO, NY – Nathan Lukes and Rafael Lantigua combined for seven hits, but it came in a losing effort 11-8 against the Norfolk Tides on Wednesday evening at Sahlen Field. A pair of big innings by the Tides were the difference in the game.

The Bisons struck first with a pair of runs in the bottom of the opening inning. Lukes led off against Garrett Stallings with a base hit. That was promptly followed by a Lantigua single. Both runners scored on a base hit to center by Orelvis Martinez with two out. The base hit increased Martinez RBI total to 44 for the season with Buffalo, giving the team a 2-0 lead through one inning.

Norfolk chipped away at the two-run deficit with a run in the top of the third inning. Kyle Stowers hit a two-out base hit to score Connor Norby against Wes Parsons. The two out base hit would be the first for the Tides in the game, halving Buffalo’s lead to 2-1.

The Tides would use several two out base hits in the top of the fourth to overtake the Bisons and take a 6-2 lead. Eight straight batters reached against Parsons, including RBI base hits by Colton Cowser, Coby Mayo, and Josh Lester. Mayo drove in a pair, while Cowser and Mayo each drove in one to help with the four-run advantage through four and a half frames.

Lukes and Lantigua once again combined in the bottom of the fifth to chip away at the Bisons’ four-run deficit. Lukes laced a two-out single to center field to extend the bottom of the inning. It was followed right away by an RBI double by Lantigua to cut the deficit to 6-3 through five innings.

Cowser answered right back for Norfolk with an opposite field home run to lead off the top of the sixth. His 17th home run of the season extended the Tides lead back out to four runs, 7-3. Hayden Juenger would go on to strikeout each of the next three batters to end the half inning.

Connor Norby’s second grand slam in as many nights broke the game wide open for Norfolk. His 20th home run of the season cleared the bases and ballooned the Tides lead to 11-3 in the seventh. But, once again Lukes tried to help Buffalo mount a rally, scoring on a Damiano Palmegiani RBI double. Palmegiani’s second hit of the night brought Buffalo within seven, 11-4.

Six different Norfolk pitchers combined to keep Buffalo from making a late-game comeback despite the Bisons best efforts. The Bisons scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth to fall 11-8. Martinez collected his second two-RBI hit of the game to score Lukes and Lantigua again.

Addison Barger and Leo Jimenez added RBI base hits to help bring the Bisons within three. However, Wandisson Charles was able to leave a pair of runners on and the game-tying run at the plate.

The two teams will meet again on Thursday for a 6:05 p.m. first pitch at Sahlen Field. Mitch White is scheduled to start for the Bisons.

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