Mud Hens prevail in offensive explosion

Toledo Mud Hens
COLUMBUS, Ohio – In an offensive explosion, the Toledo Mud Hens bested the Columbus Clippers 14-10 on Wednesday afternoon at Huntington Park.

The Mud Hens got on the board early in this one, similar to Tuesday night’s game. JaCoby Jones laced a leadoff single to center to start the game. He ended up stealing second base and then clean-up man Yariel Gonzalez hit a two-run shot to right, giving Toledo the 2-0 lead.

The Clippers responded with a run themselves. Mercado doubled to left to start the inning before moving to third on a ground ball to second base. Drew Hutchison nearly got out of the inning with no damage done, but a wild pitch that bounced away from Garneau allowed Mercado to trot home to score.

In the bottom of the second, the Clippers once again threatened. An infield single and a walk started the inning. With two on and no outs, Brooks swung at the first pitch he saw and hit a ball to Short at short, who stepped on the bag and threw to first to complete the 6-3 double play. Hutchison induced a pop-up on the next batter and escaped the jam with his team still in front by a run.

The Mud Hens added to their total in the fourth. Renato Nunez hit his third homer in as many days with a long blast to left to put the Mud Hens up 4-1. Kody Clemens followed it up with his first dinger of the year and the third of the day for Toledo.

Pitching with a 5-1 lead, Hutchison wanted to pound the strike zone, but that just wasn’t the result he got in the fourth. He allowed a single and walked three straight batters. He was replaced by southpaw Locke St. John in a 5-2 game with two outs in the inning. On what probably should’ve been the final out of the inning, Jacob Robson never saw a fly ball in the air that dropped for a bases-clearing double to tie the game. Hutch’s final line would be 3.2 innings, three hits, five runs, four walks, and five strikeouts.

The game would not stay tied long as Dustin Garneau blasted a solo homer to left-center on the first pitch of the fifth inning to put the Mud Hens back on top. Jones reached on an error and Robson hit a double, extending his hitting streak to seven games, which scored Jones for the Hens’ seventh run. Nunez reached on another Columbus error and Klemens followed it with a double, giving Toledo a 9-5 lead at this point. Short hit a long fly ball to right field that allowed Nunez to tag up and score from third. After three hits, two errors, and a walk, the Hens led 10-5, thanks to a five-run fifth.

After Jones was hit by a pitch in the top half of the sixth, Robson hit a towering big fly to right field to add to the lead for Toledo. In the bottom half, St. John had an easy inning, sending the Clippers down in order.

Righty Nolan Blackwood took over in the seventh inning for the Mud Hens. A single, a walk, and another single loaded the bases for the Clippers with no outs. The next batter lined out to Short for the first out of the inning. Johnson plated a pair with a two-run double to right, bringing Columbus within five with the inning still going. Arias hit a deep fly ball to right that was caught by Stewart, but both runners tagged, making it a sac fly and a 12-8 game. Another sharply hit ball looked like it may plate another run, but Rodriguez at first snared the liner to end the inning.

Righty Angel De Jesus was the third reliever to come out of the Hen-pen in this one. He had an easy 1-2-3 nine-pitch inning, which included two punch outs.

The Mud Hens added some insurance in the ninth after two singles and a double. Clemens would finish a triple shy of the cycle in this one, recording 3 RBI. Stewart then deposited a single to left field, plating Nunez for the second run of the inning.

De Jesus returned for the ninth, pitching with a six-run lead. Mercado immediately cut into that lead, starting the inning with a solo shot to center. On the very next pitch, Gimenez hit a tank to right field that left the yard and park. The Clippers weren’t done yet though. After a strikeout, De Jesus issued two walks and a single, bringing the potential tying-run to the dish with one out. Ian Krol was called on to come in and get the last two outs. In a rather stressful situation, Krol recorded a huge strikeout for the second out of the inning with the bases still juiced. Facing the pinch-hitter Lavarnway, Krol got ahead of him 0-2 in the count. After fouling a pitch off, Krol got a swing and miss on a breaking ball to put this one in the books.

What’s Next:

The Toledo Mud Hens and Columbus Clippers matchup Thursday night at Huntington Park at 7:05 p.m. for game three of the series.

Hens Notes:

  • Outfielder Jacob Robson extended his team-high hitting streak to seven with a double in the fifth inning. He also homered in the sixth.
  • Designated hitter Renato Nunez hit his eighth home run of the year and third in the last three games.
  • Second baseman Kody Clemens hit his first home run of the season in a three-hit effort.
  • Lefty Locke St. John threw 2.1 scoreless innings in relief.

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