Hens fight, but fall in 6-4 defeat

Toledo Mud Hens
LOUISVILLE, Kentucky – The Louisville Bats topped the Toledo Mud Hens, 6-4, on Friday Night at Louisville Slugger Field. The Bats jumped out early and hung on to win despite the comeback effort from the Mud Hens.

The Mud Hens put two runners on via the walk in the top of the first, but were unable to capitalize. In the bottom half of the frame, righty starter Matt Manning found himself in trouble early. A pair of singles to right field put runners on first and second with one out. The Bats then called a gutsy double steal, which worked out and moved the runners both into scoring position. A single to center proceeded to score the pair and the Bats took an early 2-0 lead.

The Bats southpaw starter Reiver Sanmartin continued to pitch around his early control issues. Catcher Juan Centeno drew a walk to start the inning, but Sanmartin struck out a pair to strand him at second.

Matt Manning walked the leadoff man in the second inning. TJ Friedl laid down a bunt to advance Beau Taylor. Brantley Bell hit his second single to right of the night, scoring Taylor. Mike Freeman then smoked a home run to right to break the game open to 5-0.

The Mud Hens offense started to come to life in the fourth inning. Issac Paredes, Aderlin Rodriguez, and Derek Hill all singled to plate the first run of the game for Toledo. With runners on second and third, Daz Cameron was a base hit away from getting Toledo right back in the game and he delivered with a double, making it a 5-3 game.

Matt Manning came back out for the fourth, but after issuing a walk and only getting one out, was done for the night. His final line would be a rather ugly 3.1 innings, six hits, six runs, three walks, and two strikeouts. Righty reliever Beau Burrows got the call and got Mike Freeman to fly out on the first pitch he saw. Unfortunately, he followed that up with a walk and then a bloop double fell in between four Toledo fielders, plating another run for Louisville.

Facing a three run deficit to start the fifth, JaCoby Jones hit a double into the right field corner. Up came Christin Stewart to hit, who chopped a ball to short. Jones broke for third and forced an errant throw that allowed him to score and Stewart to move up to second base with no outs still. The Bats elected to go to the bullpen, now nursing a two-run lead. Paredes stepped to the plate as the tying run and topped a ball back to the pitcher that advanced Stewart to third with one out now. Centeno worked the count full and hit a ground ball to third base that was muffed. Stewart was not able to score but Centeno reached to put runners at the corners. Aderlin Rodriguez hit a ground ball to second that resulted in an inning-ending double play.

Burrows returned to pitch the fifth and had much better success, yielding a two-out walk but not allowing any runs. The Hens went quietly in the top of the sixth as well.

Lefty Miguel Del Pozo was the next arm out of the Hens pen and he would be tasked with keeping this a two-run game. He’s been brilliant all year and tonight was no different as he struck out the side in the sixth.

Christin Stewart singled in the seventh, bringing the tying run to the dish again for the Mud Hens. The Bats bullpen prevailed though, and the lead remained at two.

Del Pozo returned for the seventh and made quick work of the Bats, striking out a pair and getting a ground out. Six up and six down for him tonight, including five punchouts.

Righty Wladaimir Pinto came on as the Mud Hens’ third reliever of the night. Pinto retired the first two hitters with ease. He walked the Bats leadoff man, Brantley Bell, but a nice running play from JaCoby Jones in right center ended the inning.

Daz Cameron gave the Hens hope in the ninth with a leadoff single, but Yariel Gonzalez bounced into a 4-6-3 double play. With things looking bleak, JaCoby Jones fanned and the Hens fell 6-4.

What’s Next:

Game five of the series between the Toledo Mud Hens and the Louisville Bats is Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. at Louisville Slugger Field.

Hens Notes:

  • Yariel Gonzalez and Derek Hill both tallied hits tonight, extending their hitting streaks to 11 games and 9 games, respectively.
  • Miguel Del Pozo pitched two scoreless innings in relief, striking out a season-high five batters.
  • Collectively, the Toledo bullpen combined for 4.2 scoreless innings tonight.

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