Hens historic win streak ends, new one begins

Toledo Mud Hens

TOLEDO, OH.: Sporting a franchise record 12-game winning streak entering the day, the Toledo Mud Hens nearly pulled off an epic comeback from five runs down in the first game of a doubleheader against the Columbus Clippers, falling 9-8, before rebounding with a strong 7-2 victory in game two on

TOLEDO, OH.: Sporting a franchise record 12-game winning streak entering the day, the Toledo Mud Hens nearly pulled off an epic comeback from five runs down in the first game of a doubleheader against the Columbus Clippers, falling 9-8, before rebounding with a strong 7-2 victory in game two on Thursday evening at Fifth Third Field.

Game 1: The Clippers started as hot as they could have hoped in the opening inning. Richie Palacios and Nolan Jones each recorded singles in the inning, and then George Valera banged a three-run homer with two outs to open the scoring. The damage against Elvin Rodriguez continued as Bryan Lavastida drove in Oscar Mercado with a two-run blast of his own to balloon the Columbus lead to 5-0.

The Mud Hens wasted no time responding, picking up four straight two-out hits opposite Logan Allen to close to within 5-3 on the scoreboard. Daz Cameron started with a double. Josh Lester singled him in for the first run. Brendon Davis smashed his second triple of the year to plate Lester. Davis would then score on a knock from Andre Lipcius to cap the damage.

Another two-out rally yielded positive results for Toledo in the home half of the second. Zack Short coaxed a walk and Kody Clemens singled to place two men on for Cameron, who promptly smacked his second two-base hit of the night to even the score at 5-5.

Rodriguez fanned seven hitters over four innings in his start for Toledo, scattering seven hits and five runs while not factoring in the decision.

Allen also permitted seven hits and five runs across four stanzas for Columbus.

The Clippers were active in the top of the fifth as three of the four batters that Zac Houston (1-1) faced reached base. Now against new hurler Nolan Blackwood, Mercado capped off his three-hit effort with a bases clearing double for an 8-5 Columbus edge.

Cameron walked and would score on a wild pitch in the bottom of the fifth to bring Toledo within 8-6.

Clemens clubbed an absolute bomb to right-center field in the sixth, his 12th Triple-A home run of the season, against Luis Oviedo to make it 8-7 Clippers.

Columbus capitalized on a fielding miscue from Lester in the seventh that enabled Jones to climb aboard and later score a key insurance tally on a sacrifice fly from Lavastida; 9-7 Clippers.

A final Toledo rally was sparked by a solo bomb from Davis in the seventh, his 13th of the season. The Hens would get the tying run on base, but Kevin Kelly was able to record the final out to secure the save and a Columbus victory.

Oviedo (1-0) surrendered two hits and two runs over two frames to pick up the winning end of the decision.

Game 2: John Valente kept the two-out rally theme going with a double in the top of the third inning. Short drove him in with a knock for an early 1-0 Toledo advantage.

A crucial top of the fifth created some separation for the Mud Hens. It all began when Ali Sanchez reached on an error by Clippers shortstop Brayan Rocchio. Corey Joyce picked up a single and advanced on an additional fielding miscue to place two men in scoring position. Valente’s sacrifice fly plated Sanchez. A free pass given to Short forced Clippers starter Tanner Tully out of the game, but new pitcher Eli Lingos walked Clemens and Cameron consecutively to force in another run. Lester followed with an RBI single. Two batters later, Lipcius drove in two more with a knock of his own to push the Hens margin to 6-0.

Tully (8-6) was saddled with the setback, yielding five hits, four runs, a walk, and mixing in eight punch outs across 4 and 1/3’s innings.

The Clippers dinged Nick Kuzia for two runs in the bottom of the fifth as Jose Fermin and Rocchio swatted RBI doubles.

Kuzia (1-0) snagged his first career Triple-A win, firing 1 and 2/3’s frames and working around four hits and two runs.

Kuzia relieved Mud Hens starter Shea Spitzbarth, who allowed one hit and one walk over nine outs.

Clemens led off the seventh inning by tanking his second long ball of the day for a 7-2 Mud Hens lead.

Drew Carlton and Angel DeJesus held Columbus off the board over the final seven outs.

NOTABLE PERFORMANCES: Kody Clemens slashed a combined 4-7 with two home runs, two RBIs, a walk, and four runs scored. He has now homered in back-to-back games for the third time this season, ensuring this accomplishment by smashing a solo homer in each game of Thursday’s double header.

Zack Short was 3-6 at the dish and reached base five times on Thursday.

Josh Lester picked up a hit in each of the two games, moving his on-base streak to 15 consecutive assignments in the process.

Andre Lipcius also hit safely in both contests and has successfully extended his on-base streak to eight.

NEXT UP: The Mud Hens continue their final home stand of the 2022 season by squaring off with the Clippers once again on Friday evening at 7:05 p.m.

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