Short comes up big as Hens remain perfect

Toledo Mud Hens

TOLEDO, OhioZack Short broke an eighth-inning deadlock with a two-out, three-run drive to left field as the Toledo Mud Hens defeated the Nashville Sounds by a 9-6 count on Wednesday at Fifth Third Field.

With the Mud Hens (2-0) and Sounds (0-2) knotted up at six apiece entering the bottom the eighth, Daniel Pinero and Derek Hill drew back-to-back two-out walks to set up Short, who represented the top of Toledo’s batting order. Short fought back from a two-strike deficit and whacked a 3-2 pitch over the left-field wall for his first home run in a Toledo uniform to give the hosts a 9-6 lead, which held on to be the final tally.

Hill also hit his first home run at the Triple-A level and reached base four times, going 2-for-2 with a three-run blast, a single, two walks and two runs. Isaac Paredes ended the night 3-for-4 with a double and two singles, while Nomar Mazara went 1-for-4 with a single, an RBI and a run as he continued his rehab assignment.

Drew Hutchison got the start for the Mud Hens and struck out three batters in four innings of work, surrendering three runs (two earned) on three hits and four walks. Toledo used five relievers in total, as Drew Carlton picked up the win after striking out a pair and giving up two hits and an earned run in the top of the eighth, before Robbie Ross Jr. retired the Sounds in order in the ninth to close out the contest.

Nashville opened the scoring with a pair of runs in the top of the first frame. Derek Fisher whacked a one-out double into deep left-center, and advanced 90 feet when Dustin Peterson grounded out sharply to second. Jace Peterson kept the inning alive with a walk, and Zach Green brought both runners home with a double toward the gap in right-center.

The Mud Hens responded by grabbing their first lead of the night in the bottom of the second inning. Christin Stewart grounded a leadoff single up the middle, and Dustin Garneau followed with a walk to put men on first and second with nobody out. The hosts then captured their their first lead of the night when Hill launched a two-out, three-run homer to left-center to make it a 3-2 game.

The Sounds evened the score in the top of the third, but Toledo jumped back in front in the bottom of the same inning. After Mazara hit a leadoff single into left and Paredes doubled down the left-field line to put runners on second and third with nobody out, Renato Núñez lifted a sacrifice fly to left that gave the Mud Hens a 4-3 edge.

Toledo went on to add a couple insurance markers in the bottom of the fourth. Pinero picked up a leadoff walk, and slid safely into second base when Hill grounded an infield single up the middle. Two batters later, Mazara ripped a sharp grounder to first that still managed to plate Pinero and extend the lead to 5-3. From there, Paredes singled into center to drive in Hill, only to be gunned down at second by Nashville catcher Christian Kelley trying to stretch on the throw home.

The Sounds brought home a pair of runs in the top of the seventh when Chad Spanberger clubbed a two-run shot to right, and eventually evened the score an inning later when Jamie Westbrook hit a sharp ground ball into left field that scored Corey Ray. Despite conceding the game-tying run, Carlton was credited with his first win of the season when Short hit his three-run tally that kept the Mud Hens’ perfect start to the season intact.

What’s Next:
The Mud Hens and Sounds return to Fifth Third Field for the third game of their six-game Opening Week series. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.

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