Policelli walks it off in 3-2 thriller

Toledo Mud Hens

TOLEDO, Ohio – The Toledo Mud Hens topped the Columbus Clippers, 3-2, in a low-scoring affair on Friday night at Fifth Third Field.
Rony Garcia got the start for the Mud Hens on the mound facing righty Eli Morgan of the Clippers. Both had great starts, striking out four each

TOLEDO, Ohio – The Toledo Mud Hens topped the Columbus Clippers, 3-2, in a low-scoring affair on Friday night at Fifth Third Field.

Rony Garcia got the start for the Mud Hens on the mound facing righty Eli Morgan of the Clippers. Both had great starts, striking out four each after two innings, with a Renato Nunez walk being the sole baserunner in the game up to that point.

Shortstop Cole Peterson tallied the first hit of the game with a leadoff double in the third inning. Brady Policelli then hit an infield single to short, flipping the lineup over with two on and nobody out. Daz Cameron came up and hit a sharp line drive, but right at second baseman Gabriel Arias who caught it and was able to double off Cole Peterson at second. A pickoff throw to first base nabbed Brady Policelli and what appeared to be a great scoring opportunity quickly fizzled out for Toledo.

The red-hot Owen Miller recorded the first hit for the Clippers in the fourth inning, moving Daniel Johnson, who walked, up to second base with two outs. Garcia elevated a 2-2 fastball to Arias and got him to pop it up to Cole Peterson, ending the threat with the game still knotted as zeroes.

In the top of the sixth, Garcia appeared to be en route to another 1-2-3 inning. Daniel Johnson had other plans, however, smoking a ball over the right field wall to break the scoreless tie. Garcia proceeded to hit the next batter, Bobby Bradley, and his night was finished there. His final line was 5.2 innings pitched, two hits, one run, two walks, and eight strikeouts. Jason Foley came in to finish the sixth and did so by getting Miller to ground out.

Reliever Robert Broom came in to pitch the seventh for Columbus and recorded two outs right away. Renato Nunez was hit by a pitch, bringing Yariel Gonzalez to the plate. On a 1-0 pitch, Gonzalez hit a deep fly ball to right field that left the yard and put the Hens in front by a run.

After 1.1 scoreless innings of relief, Jason Foley turned it over to Locke St. John to pitch the eighth, looking to keep the Clippers at bay. Oscar Mercado singled and Daniel Johnson walked, bringing left-handed cleanup hitter Bobby Bradley to the dish with one out. Manager Tom Prince elected to stay with the southpaw to face Bradley and the decision paid dividends as St. John struck him out. With two on and two outs, Wladamir Pinto came in to record the last out, but it wouldn’t be easy as Owen Miller stepped into the box. Pinto and Miller battled, with the count going full. In the end, Pinto got the better of him as left-fielder Daz Cameron squeezed the final out of the inning with the Hens holding onto a narrow 2-1 lead.

Victor Reyes singled in the bottom of the eighth inning, but nothing came of it and the game headed to the ninth, still sitting at 2-1.

With Arias, Jones, and Zimmer coming to the plate, Pinto had to come back out to face at least the first two hitters of the inning, since the rule change now requires relievers to face a minimum of three batters. Arias grounded out to second base to start the top of the ninth. Pinto then got ahead of Jones, but Jones clobbered a 1-2 pitch to right field that tied the game at two. Ian Krol was called upon out of the Hens pen to keep the game tied and he did just that, striking out Andres Gimenez to send it to the bottom of the ninth.

Christin Stewart walked to start the ninth, putting the winning run on base. Derek Hill singled and a wild pitch moved both runners up, with the winning run now 90 feet away. Cole Peterson was intentionally walked to load the bases, bringing up Brady Policelli with the chance to win it. With no balls and two strikes, Policelli stuck with a breaking ball and dropped it into center field for a base hit and a walk-off winner for the Mud Hens.

What’s Next:

The Mud Hens and Clippers play game five of the series Saturday night at Fifth Third Field with the first pitch at 5:05 p.m.

Hens Notes:

  • Victor Reyes singled in the 8th inning to extend his hitting streak to ten games.
  • Rony Garcia was fantastic, notching season-highs in both innings (5.2) and strikeouts (8) tonight.
  • Yariel Gonzalez recorded his third home run of the season, a team-high. He also leads the team in RBI’s with 11.
  • Brady Policelli had a 2-for-4 night including the walk-off single in the ninth to win it.

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