Long ball plagues Hens in loss

Toledo Mud Hens

Toledo, Ohio – The Mud Hens win streak came to an end Saturday evening in a 5-3 loss to the Clippers. Despite an impressive outing from top prospect Matt Manning and the continued hot streak of Victor Reyes, the Columbus long ball proved too much to overcome.
RHP Matt Manning

Toledo, Ohio – The Mud Hens win streak came to an end Saturday evening in a 5-3 loss to the Clippers. Despite an impressive outing from top prospect Matt Manning and the continued hot streak of Victor Reyes, the Columbus long ball proved too much to overcome.

RHP Matt Manning took the mound for the Mud Hens as they looked to secure their first series win of the young season. Manning would retire the Clippers in order in the top of the first via a flyout and inning ending double play. Center fielder Victor Reyes would waste no time extending his hitting streak to 11 games in the bottom of the first, lining a single into right field. Unfortunately, Reyes would be erased on the base paths shortly after, a victim of an inning ending double play.

Columbus would start the second inning with a splash, sending Manning’s first pitch over the left field wall for a solo shot. The next two batters would reach via a single and a double, putting runners at first and second with nobody out. Working under pressure early, Manning was able to get a clutch strikeout and back to back groundouts, only allowing the runner on third to score. Trailing 2-0 early, the Hens looked to do some damage. Third baseman Yariel Gonzalez would take matters into his own hands, sending a moonshot to deep left center field, cutting the deficit to 2-1. Right fielder Derek Hill would follow up the at bat with a double to left but would be stranded before he could come around to score.

Manning would bounce back nicely in the top of the third, racking up two quick strikeouts and a lineout. Clippers starter Kirk McCarty worked just as efficiently in the bottom of the inning however, retiring the Hens in order.

Manning continued to hit his stride in the top of the fourth, getting two quick put outs before getting strikeout to close out the inning. Seeming to match him every step of the way, Columbus starter McCarty also pitched a quick inning, dispatching the Hens lineup in order.

Looking like a pitching duel up to this point, Manning continued to deal in the top of the fifth, adding another strikeout victim to his rising total before ending the inning. The Toledo offense still struggled to get traction, falling in order in the bottom of the fifth.

Continuing to show why the Tigers took him with their first round pick in 2016, Manning pitched another scoreless inning in the sixth, albeit probably his most stressful since the second. A bunt single against the shift and walk put two runners on but Manning quickly negated the threat with his seventh strikeout of the game, tying his season high. Searching for their first baserunner since the second inning, the Hens would find just that in a Victor Reyes walk. However, that’s where the threat would end as McCarty worked his way around the walk and ended the inning.

Going back to work in the seventh, Manning got two quick fly outs to start the inning, making it his longest start of the season, but was pulled after reaching an 80 pitch threshold. LHP Derek Holland came in from the bullpen to record the final out, but before he could, served up a first pitch homerun. A single back up the middle continued the threat for Columbus but a strike by catcher Brady Policelli caught the runner trying to steal second. Now trailing 3-1, designated hitter Aderlin Rodriquez ripped a leadoff double down the left field line. A passed ball advanced Rodriquez to third, allowing him to score on a sacrifice fly by Daniel Pinero. Derek Hill would single later in the inning but wouldn’t be able to come around to score.

Looking to keep it a one run game at 3-2, Holland returned to the mound in the top of the eighth. The long ball continued to plague the Mud Hens though, as a solo shot extended the Columbus lead 4-2. Despite a pair of flyouts, a walk and infield single would end Holland’s outing as RHP Drew Carlton came on to try and get the final out. A bloop single to right extended the inning for Columbus and scored an additional run. Trailing 5-2 now and quickly running out of opportunities, Victor Reyes would reach base for the third time in the game via a walk. Second baseman Isaac Paredes would continue the threat with a single to left, putting runners at first and second with two outs. A walk to Aderlin Rodriquez loaded the bases before a wild pitch scored Reyes. A catcher’s interference call would reload the bases as pinch hitter Christin Stewart reached. The Hens would have to settle for just the one run though as the Columbus bullpen escaped the jam.

The Mud Hens would turn to LHP Robbie Ross Jr. to pitch the ninth and give them the opportunity to make it two walk offs in a row. Ross Jr. would do just that pitching a 1-2-3 inning, striking out a pair in the process. However, the Mud Hens would fall in order in the bottom of the ninth, losing by a score of 5-3.

What’s Next: The Mud Hens take on the Clippers tomorrow in the final game of the six game series. First pitch is scheduled for 2:05 p.m.

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