Hens’ three-game winning streak broken by Bats

Toledo Mud Hens
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A two-run triple from Isaac Paredes in the top of the sixth inning appeared to be sufficient offense for the Toledo Mud Hens on Thursday, but the Louisville Bats rallied with five runs in the bottom of the eighth inning as they held on for a 5-4 result at Louisville Slugger Field.

Entering the night with three straight wins and six in their last seven games overall, the Mud Hens (9-11) missed the opportunity to reach the .500 mark for the first time since May 7 after the Bats (6-14) came from behind to tally five unanswered runs – all with two outs – in their last trip to the plate. Toledo responded by scoring twice in the top of the ninth and had the potential tying run on base with one down, only for Louisville closer R.J. Alaniz to retire Derek Hill and Cole Peterson on back-to-back groundouts to end the comeback bid.

Rony García had another strong start for the Hens, tossing five scoreless innings and scattering two hits and a pair of walks while striking out six. Locke St. John added 1.1 scoreless innings of relief, but Buck Farmer recorded his second loss of the season after conceding four earned runs in 1.1 innings of work.

At the plate, Yariel Gonzalez extended his team-best hitting streak to 10 consecutive games with a pinch-hit single in the top of the ninth, while Hill finished 2-for-4 with a double for his sixth straight multi-hit effort. Zack Short ended the night 2-for-4 with a pair of singles and an RBI, while Aderlin Rodriguez went 1-for-4 with an RBI triple and a run.

Both teams were held to one hit through the first four innings, but the Mud Hens threatened to grab the lead in the top of the fifth. Short grounded a base hit through the left side, before Hill singled sharply into center to put runners on first and second with one out. However, Peterson hit a ground ball that ricocheted off Louisville pitcher Bo Takahashi’s right hand and straight to shortstop Alfredo Rodriguez for a 1-6-3 double play that retired the side.

Toledo managed to break the scoreless tie an inning later. JaCoby Jones drew a one-out walk, and advanced all the way to third when Grayson Greiner blooped an opposite-field single into shallow right. Paredes promptly drove in both runners when he smacked a triple off the base of the wall in left-center to give the visitors a 2-0 advantage.

After getting doubled up to end the seventh inning, Louisville rallied for five runs in the home half of the eighth. Mark Freeman lined a one-out single into left, and trotted to second on a wild pitch as Narciso Crook struck out swinging. Nicky Delmonico then hit a broken-bat single into shallow right to plate Freeman and cut the deficit to 2-1.

The line kept moving as Dwight Smith Jr., lined a triple into the left-center gap to bring home Delmonico and Rodriguez to stake the Bats to a 3-2 lead. After Chris Okey drew a walk, T.J. Friedl doubled to deep left to drive in a pair and extend Louisville’s margin to 5-2.

For their part, the Mud Hens refused to go away quietly in the top of the ninth as Gonzalez grounded a pinch-hit single to right, and scored when Rodriguez tripled off the right-field wall to trim the deficit to 5-3 and bring the potential tying run to the plate with one out. The rally continued as Short singled off the wall in right against a no-doubles defense to plate Rodriguez and make it a one-run ballgame, but Hill and Peterson each grounded out to close out the contest.

What’s Next:
The Mud Hens will look to get back in the column as they resume their six-game series against the Bats on Friday. First pitch from Louisville Slugger Field is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

Hens Notes:
Rony Garcia leads the Mud Hens with 24 strikeouts and 19.2 innings pitched, and also sits atop the rotation in ERA (3.20) and opponent’s batting average (.183).
• With a leadoff double in the top of the third inning, Derek Hill extended his hitting streak to eight consecutive games. He is batting .500 (17-for-34) with three doubles, a triple, a home run, three RBI and seven runs in that span.
• The Mud Hens are 3-5 in one-run games this season, and 4-4 when scoring first.
• Toledo is 9-2 when ahead after seven innings this season.

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