Stewart’s three homer game powers Hens in win

Toledo Mud Hens
Toledo, Ohio – The Mud Hens bounced back with a 10-9 win over the Nashville Sounds tonight in a back and forth matchup. The win was highlighted by Hens slugger Christin Stewart hitting three home runs, driving in six. While starter Pedro Payano had an up and down start, with his final line looking more down than up, the Hens bullpen combined for 5.2 innings of one run ball. After the Hens took an early lead, big second a fifth inning by the Sounds had the Hens chipping away most night. Reminiscent of last night’s loss, it was instead Toledo’s big eighth inning that proved the difference in this one.

The Mud Hens bounced back from last night’s offensive woes early as Christin Stewart capitalized on a Renato Nunez single by launching a two run homer to right. Working with a 2-0 lead immediately, RHP Pedro Payano pitched a quick 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the first.

The Hens went quietly to start the second, falling in order. It was not as smooth of sailing for Payano in the second, giving up a walk, double, and single to start the inning. An RBI single quickly turned a 2-0 lead into a 3-2 deficit for Toledo.

Sounds starter Alec Bettinger continued to find his groove in the top of the third, retiring the Hens in order for a second inning in a row. Payano bounced back nicely in the bottom of the inning, inducing three quick groundouts to retire Nashville.

Christin Stewart continued to terrorize Nashville in the fourth inning, sending a moonshot to right for his second homer of the night. Tied 3-3, the Hens continued to put men on base with a pair of singles by Aderlin Rodriguez and JaCoby Jones but ultimately would have to settle for the one run as Bettinger escaped the inning. The tie would not last long however as the Sounds pounced on Payano early in the fourth. Nashville’s first four batters would successfully reach on a pair of walks followed by a pair of singles. An RBI double ended Payano’s night after extending the Sounds lead to 6-3. RHP Nivaldo Rodriguez made his Mud Hens debut in relief of Payano, surrendering a pair of runs on a sacrifice fly and double. Both runs would be charged to Payano.

Trailing 8-3, the Hens kept clawing their way back as Niko Goodrum and Renato Nunez started the inning with a pair of singles. With two men on, who else stepped up to the plate but Christin Stewart. Stewart wasted little time in drilling his third homer of the night, cutting the Sounds lead to 8-6. With the homer Stewart had driven in all six of the Mud Hens runs up to that point. Nivaldo Rodriguez returned to pitch the bottom of the fifth, surrendering a leadoff homer to the rehabbing Daniel Vogelbach and two out double in an otherwise quick inning.

The Hens continued to threaten in the top of the sixth as Juan Centeno and Jacob Robson both singled. Unfortunately, ex-Mud Hen Kyle Lobstein wiggled out of the jam for Nashville, keeping the score 9-6. Nivaldo Rodriguez continued to log innings for the Hens, throwing a 1-2-3 frame in the bottom of the sixth.

The Hens fell in order in the seventh, with the Sounds finally getting Stewart out on a flyball to left. Likewise, Nivaldo Rodriguez faced the minimum three batters in the bottom of the inning, assisted by a double play ball that erased a leadoff walk.

The Hens kept the basepaths busy in the top of eighth, with three consecutive singles by Aderlin Rodriguez, Juan Centeno, and JaCoby Jones loading the bases. An RBI single by Jacob Robson scored Rodriguez and Centeno, but Jones was caught trying to advance to third on the play. Trailing by one now, Yariel Gonzalez was brought in to pinch hit for Cole Peterson. Gonzalez responded to high pressure situation, driving in Robson on a RBI single. Suddenly tied 9-9, the Hens didn’t stop there with Niko Goodrum drawing a walk before Renato Nunez drove in Gonzalez with a single to center. Now leading 10-9, Christin Stewart was intentionally walked to load the bases for Aderlin Rodriguez. Rodriguez gave a ball a ride to deep centerfield, but it ended up being a few feet short of a homer, proving to be an inning ending flyout. RHP Nolan Blackwood took over on the mound for Nivaldo Rodriguez, his only base runner reaching on a fielding error in an otherwise perfect inning.

The Mud Hens were limited to a Jacob Robson walk in the top of the ninth, although Robson would later be erased on an inning ending stolen base attempt. LHP Miguel Del Pozo entered the game in the bottom of the ninth for Toledo, looking to put the finishing touches on a back and forth win. Del Pozo would do just that, pitching a clean 1-2-3 inning.

What’s Next: The Mud Hens continue their series with the Nashville Sounds tomorrow night. First pitch is scheduled for 8:05 p.m.

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