(bisons.com)- IronPigs' starter Greg Smith couldn't slow the Bisons offense on Friday night.
Neither could reliever Tyler Knigge.
The Bisons rattled both pitchers and used an efficient offense to defeat Lehigh Valley, 9-7, in front of 12,120 at Coca-Cola Field.
After the teams traded runs through the first six innings, the Herd took control when Andy LaRoche launched a three-run homer over the left field wall in the seventh . LaRoche finished the night 2-for-4 with five RBIs. Along with the homer, LaRoche also hit a two-run double in the fourth inning.
LaRoche was in the lineup for just the second time in five days, but has strung together two-straight multi-hit games in his last two starts.
"He hasn't played as much as he'd liked to," Bisons manager Gary Allenson said. "I gave Ryan Schimpf the night off and he's been swinging a hot bat, too. Maybe we have an option with a few guys there."
Lehigh Valley took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first, before the Bisons tied it in the bottom half on an RBI double by Kevin Pillar.
Lehigh Valley regained the lead with a lone run in the third inning. That wouldn't last long as Brad Glenn hit a two-run homer to give the Bisons a 3-2 lead. The Bisons strung together more runs with a three-run fourth.
The Herd gave Smith all he could handle. The IronPigs' lefty was charged with six runs, on nine hits and walked three. Smith was chased after five innings after throwing 97 pitches.
"We're not going to score nine runs every night, but to get good quality at bats when we needed them was important," Bisons' manager Gary Allenson said. "That's third time we've seen [Smith]. I think he's dropped his arm slot and obviously having nine right-handed hitters in the lineup probably helped us out a little."
Bisons' right-hander P.J. Walters allowed two earned runs, on seven hits, in five innings of work. Walters surrendered two unearned runs, stemming from the LaRoche throwing error in the fourth.
LaRoche was one of four Bisons with multi-hit games, joining Kevin Pillar (3-for-5), AJ Jimenez (2-for-4), and Kevin Nolan (2-for-4). The Herd went 5-for-8 with runners in scoring position in the win.
The Bisons and IronPigs will resume their four-game series Saturday night at Coca-Cola Field. Liam Hendriks (7-1, 2.40 ERA) will start for the Bisons and David Buchanan (5-1, 3.86 ERA) will start for the IronPigs. Hendriks brings his league-leading 2.40 ERA into the start.