Hens cap special home slate with 15th walk-off win

Toledo Mud Hens

TOLEDO, OH.: The Toledo Mud Hens finished out their home portion of the 2022 schedule like they’ve done so often this season, crawling back from a three-run deficit and eventually prevailing in walk-off fashion, this time taking down the Columbus Clippers, 8-7, on Sunday afternoon at Fifth Third Field.
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TOLEDO, OH.: The Toledo Mud Hens finished out their home portion of the 2022 schedule like they’ve done so often this season, crawling back from a three-run deficit and eventually prevailing in walk-off fashion, this time taking down the Columbus Clippers, 8-7, on Sunday afternoon at Fifth Third Field.

With the win, Toledo finished the season 45-30 in home contests, successfully backing up what was a great 2021 campaign when the Mud Hens went 43-22 at home. The Mud Hens took five of seven from the Clippers in this set, ensuring that Toledo has won eight straight series dating back to the start of August.

John Valente squared up the fourth pitch of the game to the Hens lineup, lining a lead-off solo blast off the scoreboard, his second of the season, to open the scoring and provide a strong start for Toledo. He advanced his hitting streak to four straight assignments in the process.

The Mud Hens made it 2-0 in the bottom of the third. Daz Cameron recorded a two-out single, swiped his second base of the game, and then scored on a double from Josh Lester.

Columbus exploded with a four-spot in the fourth against Austin Bergner to take the lead. Consecutive doubles from Bo Naylor and David Fry accounted for the first run. After a walk to George Valera, Oscar Mercado singled in Fry to even the game at 2-2. A two-out, two-run double from Mitchell Tolman propelled the Clippers in front for the first time, 4-2.

Valera’s run-producing double in the top of the fifth plated Fry all the way from first to bump the Columbus advantage to 5-2.

Bergner didn’t factor in the decision in his start for the Mud Hens, permitting seven hits, five runs, and four walks over 4 and 2/3’s frames.

Peyton Battenfield also received a no-decision on the other side for the Clippers, yielding five hits, three earned runs, two walks, and mixing in three strikeouts across 4 and 2/3’s innings.

Also in the fifth, and with Kody Clemens on base, Lester rudely introduced new Columbus pitcher Tim Herrin to the contest by taking him deep for a two-run homer and to trim the deficit to 5-4.

Brayan Rocchio drove in Richie Palacios with a two-base knock opposite Carlos Pena, and then crossed home on a single from Naylor to guide the Clippers advantage back to three runs at 7-4 in the sixth.

Toledo began its comeback bid by placing the first three men on base in the home half of the seventh. A base hit from Zack Short brought in Cameron to trim the margin to 7-5.

It was Lester who once again came through when the Hens needed him most. He smoked his 29th home run of the year well over the right field fence, bringing in Clemens with him, to tie the game at 7-7.

Lester registered his first four-hit effort of the season, going 4-4 with those two home runs, a double, five RBIs, and two runs scored. His second long ball moved him into second place in the IL and his five-RBI game pushed him to 98 for the campaign and into solo first in the circuit.

Toledo’s bullpen answered the bell by shutting down the Clippers over the final three innings. Bubba Derby, Shea Spitzbarth, and Nick Vincent (6-5) each contributed a scoreless stanza to give the Mud Hens a chance at the end.

Toledo capitalized on some command lapses from Luis Oviedo to load the bases and eventually win the game in the ninth. Andre Lipcius walked and Jamie Westbrook was plunked to put two men on. After Valente was hit by a pitch, and with Clemens up, a wild pitch from Oviedo allowed Lipcius to scamper home for the decisive tally.

While Lester accounted for four of the ten Mud Hens hits in the contest, Cameron and Brendon Davis each had two-hit efforts of their own.

NEXT UP: With the 2022 home slate completed, the Mud Hens will travel west for a three-game series against the Iowa Cubs to close the season. Monday evening’s first pitch at Principal Park is scheduled for 7:38 p.m. EDT.

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