Redbirds walk off for second straight night

Toledo Mud Hens
MEMPHIS, TN – The Memphis Redbirds won a thriller on Friday night at AutoZone Park, defeating the Toledo Mud Hens 6-5, thanks to a walkoff walk in the tenth inning.

Lefties Ian Krol and Connor Thomas were both fantastic tonight, as the first run in this game did not come until the sixth inning.

The Mud Hens threatened in the second inning with a leadoff single from Renato Nunez; however, a ground ball to second base off the bat of Aderlin Rodriguez quickly wiped out the leadoff runner. Back-to-back singles from Christin Stewart and Juan Centeno put two on with two out, but Memphis southpaw Connor Thomas got Cole Peterson to strike out swinging to end the threat.

Lefty starter Ian Krol retired the first four batters he faced before issuing a one-out walk in the second inning. He bounced back with a punchout, but proceeded to walk another hitter to move a runner into scoring position. After a brief mound visit from manager Tom Prince, a 6-3 putout ended the inning to keep the game scoreless.

Righty reliever Angel De Jesus made his Toledo season debut as he entered in the third inning. He started out by fanning Irving Lopez on some high heat for the first out. He sent the next hitter down looking on a nasty backdoor breaking ball and got the third batter of the inning to ground a ball right back to him for the easy out.

A deep drive to right center off the bat of Aderlin Rodriguez looked like it may leave the yard, but a nice catch from the Redbirds center fielder Conner Capel at the wall took away the hit. De Jesus returned for the fourth inning and threw another scoreless frame for the Mud Hens as the Redbirds continued to search for their first hit of the game.

Right-hander Nolan Blackwood took over to pitch the fifth inning for Toledo. A two-out single to center represented the first hit of the game for Memphis, but nothing came of it as the game headed to the sixth still tied at zero.

A double from JaCoby Jones and a single from Isaac Paredes put runners at the corners with one out for clean-up man Yariel Gonzalez. A ground ball to short was just what the doctor ordered for the Redbirds and the Hens’ best scoring threat of the game amounted to nothing.

Blackwood returned for the sixth, but did not find the same success. A leadoff single was followed by a towering blast to left from John Nogowski to put Memphis out front with a 2-0 lead. Two more singles put runners at the corners for the Redbirds with still no outs. A ground ball to short was turned into a double play, but a third run did come in to score, making it 3-0.

Nunez kicked off the seventh with a solo shot to left to cut into the Redbirds’ lead. Centeno singled and Peterson walked to set up Cameron with the chance to tie the game or better yet, put the Mud Hens in front. Cameron hit an infield single to short that loaded the bases with two outs for Jones. Memphis opted to go to the bullpen for the first time in the game, bringing in righty Jesus Cruz. Cruz fell behind 3-0, but worked it back full. On a 3-2 fastball, Jones squared up a gap shot to left-center that cleared the bases and gave the Mud Hens a 4-3 lead.

Reliever Drew Carlton came on to work the 7th inning with the Hens now holding a one-run lead. A strikeout, flyout, and a popout made for an easy 1-2-3 inning for Carlton and Toledo. The eighth inning would not be so easy for Carlton as a pair of singles from the Redbirds put the tying and go-ahead runs on base. A fine running catch from JaCoby Jones in right-center left it up to Ali Sanchez with two outs. On an 0-2 pitch, Sanchez singled up the box, scoring Robertson from second and tying the game, 4-4. Carlton ceded to lefty Robbie Ross Jr., who would look to get the final out and keep the game tied.

After a scoreless ninth inning, the game headed to extras still tied at 4-4. Cameron, who has good speed, started at second to start the top of the tenth inning. Jones worked a walk to put runners at first and second with no outs. Paredes walked on four pitches to load the bases for Gonzalez with still no outs. Gonzalez hit a shallow fly to left on the first pitch he saw that was not deep enough to score the run. Nunez came through with a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Cameron and gave the Mud Hens a one-run lead. Rodriguez fanned to end the inning, but the Hens held a lead.

Ross Jr. remained in the game for the Hens in the tenth. Ross Jr. walked the first hitter on four pitches, setting up the double play chance for Toledo. Nogowski singled to left to load them up with no outs. Ross Jr. remained in to face the lefty, Capel. On a great slider down and away, Ross Jr. got Capel to chase for the first out of the inning. Heineman hit a sacrifice fly to center field to tie the game at five and also moved the winning run to third base with two outs. Sanchez worked a full count and finally drew a walk to reload the bases, still with two outs. After going full, Ross Jr. threw a slider low and away that was taken as ball four and the Redbirds won on a walk off for the second straight night.

What’s Next:

The Toledo Mud Hens and Memphis Redbirds play game five of the series tomorrow night at AutoZone Park with the first pitch scheduled for 7:35 p.m.

Hens Notes:

  • JaCoby Jones went 3-for-5 with 3 doubles and 3 RBI.
  • Angel De Jesus made his Mud Hens debut and threw two scoreless innings in relief.
  • Ian Krol has not allowed a run in four straight outings.
  • Juan Centeno recorded his first three-hit game of the season.

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