Colt Keith and Wenceel Perez stay hot as Toledo pummels Louisville

Bless You Boys

Toledo Mud Hens 16, Louisville Bats 2 (F/7)(Gm1)(box)(Sat)

Toledo Mud Hens 10, Louisville Bats 3 (F/7)(Gm2)(box)(Sat)

Toledo Mud Hens 6, Louisville Bats 1 (box)(Sun)

The Mud Hens offense continued to bludgeon Louisville pitching all series long, and swept all three games over the weekend to take the series 4-2.

After getting rained out on Friday night, the Hens erupted for 16 runs in game 1 on Saturday, cruising to an easy victory in only seven innings.

Sawyer Gipson-Long got the start and was pretty good again in this one, holding the Bats to two runs over five innings of work. Not quite the dominant start we’ve seen from the right-hander since he developed a new cutter on the fly a few weeks back, but still very solid. He also had a huge lead to work with and was a little more aggressive in the zone than he might otherwise have been.

He also got a little help from Wenceel Perez early in this one.

Perez also doubled to open the game, but the Hens couldn’t bring him home. However they then dropped eight runs on the Bats in the second inning, so no worries.

Nick Maton led off with a double and moved to third on an Andre Lipcius single. Eddys Leonard walked, and Ryan Kreidler singled in two runs. Dillon Dingler flew out, but Perez doubled again, scoring Leonard and moving Kreidler to third. Justyn-Henry Malloy singled in Kreidler and forced a pitching change with the score already 4-0 and one out in the inning.

Reliever Kevin Herget took over from Bats starter Connor Phillips and promptly got bombed on by Colt Keith. That three-run shot made it 7-0, and Tyler Nevin followed with a triple and then scored on a Maton single.

Keith singled in Dingler in the third to make it 9-0. In the fifth, Perez led off with a walk, took third on a Keith double, and scored on a wild pitch. Three straight walks followed, forcing in the 11th run of the game for Toledo. Eddys Leonard was then hit by a pitch to force another run home. A Kreidler sacrifice fly scored Maton to make it 13-2.

Wenceel Perez added a solo shot in the sixth, and two more walks in the top of the seventh led to two more runs scoring.

Keith: 3-5, 2 R, 4 RBI, HR, 2B, BB

Perez: 4-4, 3 R, 3 RBI, HR, 2 2B, 2 BB

Malloy: 3-6, R, 2 RBI, 2B, K

Kreidler: 3-4, R, 3 RBI

Gipson-Long (W, 2-2): 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 5 K

Game 2 was a little more respectable for the Bats, but not by much. Zach Logue was decent in a short start, allowing two earned runs over 3 23 innings of work.

The Hens struck first when Eddys Leonard cracked his fourth home run since the Tigers traded cash for him to the Dodgers, who were about to DFA him, at the beginning of August. The 22-year-old shortstop now has 15 long balls on the year in 109 games, and has done nothing but rake since coming over.

The top of the third started with a Donny Sands line out, but Wenceel Perez followed with a walk and Justyn-Henry Malloy blasted a two-run shot, his 19th on the year, to left center field to make it 3-0.

Logue gave up single runs in the third and fourth, trimming the Hens lead to one run, but in the fifth, Perez and Colt Keith walked and Tyler Nevin singled in Perez to make it 4-2.

Braden Bristo gave up a run in the bottom of the sixth as the Bats tried hard to avoid the doubleheader sweep. However the Hens offense had had enough and promptly put this one away with six runs in the top of the seventh and final inning.

With two outs, Keith singled and Nevin doubled him to third. Nick Maton doubled them both in on a fly ball the opposite way. Andre Lipcius walked, and Leonard followed with a ground rule double to score Maton. Michael Papierski singled in Lipcius and Leonard, and then scored on a Sands triple for the Hens 10th run of the game.

Aneurys Zabala struck out the side in the bottom of the seventh to finish the beatdown.

Leonard: 2-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, HR, 2B

Malloy: 1-4, R, 2 RBI, HR, 2 K

Nevin: 2-3, R, RBI, 2B

Logue: 3.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, BB, 2 K

On Sunday, Keith stayed hot and Jack O’Loughlin tossed a good game to earn the victory.

The lefty allowed a run in the bottom of the second, but otherwise cruised for five innings, allowing just three hits and a walk despite recording just one strikeout. O’Loughlin’s newfound velocity has suddenly made him an interesting pitching prospect after years of little progress.

We’ll be interested to see if the big Aussie, who signed with the Tigers at 16 years old, can take another step next year or whether he might get claimed in the Rule 5 draft. Still more of a fringe starting pitching prospect, the 23-year-old is at least a viable reliever now that he’s touching 95 mph with the fastball. Better fastball command still required, however.

The Hens took a few innings to get going in this one, but they seized control in the fourth inning and didn’t look back. Nick Maton led off that inning with a walk and Eddys Leonard singled with one out. Ryan Kreidler got plunked to load the bases, and a Dillon Dingler single scored two.

Colt Keith led off the fifth with another home run to make it 3-1. That was the 23rd blast of the season between Double and Triple-A for the recently turned 22-year-old.

In the sixth, Kreidler homered and singles from Dingler, Justyn-Henry Malloy, and Keith produced their fifth run in the contest. Andre Lipcius doubled in Keith in the top of the ninth for the final run of the game.

Trey Wingenter in the eighth, and Miguel Diaz in the ninth, each racked up three strikeouts in an inning of work to slam the door on any comeback hopes.

Keith: 3-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, HR, BB

Dingler: 2-4, R, 2 RBI

Kreidler: 1-3, R, RBI, HR, K

O’Loughlin (W, 3-5): 5.0 IP, ER, 3 H, BB, K

Coming Up Next: With 24 games left on the calendar, the Hens come home to welcome in the Iowa Cubs on Tuesday night. They’re three games back of West divison leading St. Paul, but with three teams in between, so they’ll have to really catch fire to run down a playoff spot.

Erie is already in their postseason thanks to winning the first half division title. Currently, the Lakeland Flying Tigers and West Michigan Whitecaps both lead their respective division in the second half, so it’s still possible all four affiliates make the postseason, which would be cool for all involved.

In one final bit of news, shortstop Isan Diaz cleared waivers over the weekend and has been outrighted to Toledo.

Bowie Baysox 3, Erie SeaWolves 0 (box)(Sat)

Erie SeaWolves 5, Bowie Baysox 4 (box)(Sun)

The SeaWolves and Baysox split the two weekend games, and thus the series.

On Saturday, the offense managed only three hits. Lefty Lael Lockhart gave the SeaWolves a good start, striking out eight in six innings with three runs, two earned, allowed. Blake Holub and Austin Bergner would good in relief, but the offense couldn’t make a game of it.

Cabrera: 2-3

Lockhart (L, 4-2): 6.0 IP, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 H, BB, 8 K

Ty Madden gave the SeaWolves a good outing on Sunday and they were able to rally late to split the series with Bowie.

Madden allowed two runs in the fifth, but only two hits and two walks total while striking out nine over five innings of work. Jake Higginbotham took over in the sixth, and with the help of a leadoff catcher’s interference call, he gave up two runs, one earned, and it was 4-0 Bowie.

Finally in the bottom of the sixth, Justice Bigbie led off with a walk and Luis Santana singled him to third. A Chris Meyers sacrifice fly brought him home, but unfortunately Santana was caught stealing second right before a Jake Holton double.

Finally, in the bottom of the seventh, the SeaWolves caught fire. Daniel Cabrera led off with a walk, and after two quick outs, Trei Cruz walked as well. Bigbie singled in Cabrera, and Santana came up with a two-run double that tied the game at 4-4.

Tyler Mattison spun a clean eighth and a Danny Serretti single in the bottom half scored Mario Feliciano with the go-ahead run. Mattison walked one in the bottom of the ninth, but struck out three to earn the victory.

Bigbie: 2-3, 2 R, RBI, BB, K

Santana: 2-4, 2 RBI, 2B, K, CS

Serretti: 2-4, RBI, K

Madden: 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 9 K

Coming Up Next: The SeaWolves take a one game lead in the Southwest Division into a six-game home set against Altoona this week. They already won the first half, so they’re in the Eastern League postseason regardless. No starters are announced yet for Tuesday’s 6:05 p.m. ET start.

Peoria Chiefs 5, West Michigan Whitecaps 2 (box)(Sat)

Peoria Chiefs 5, West Michigan Whitecaps 4 (box)(F/10)(Sun)

The Whitecaps offense was a little quiet this weekend as they dropped both contests to lose the series four games to two to the Peoria Chiefs.

Troy Melton made a short three-inning start on Saturday and blanked the Chiefs. No word as to whether that was just innings management or an issue with Melton. Lefty starter Carlos Pena took over and spun three more good innings before finally running into a little trouble in the seventh and allowing two runs that tied the game.

The offense built an early lead when Gage Workman doubled in the first and scored on an Eliezer Alfonzo single. They made it 2-0 when Seth Stephenson pulled a ground ball down the left field line for a double and then scored on a Brady Allen single. However, that was all the ‘Caps would manage in the run scoring department.

Peoria broke open the tie a bit in the eighth with three runs off of Dario Gardea and closed it out without issue.

Stephenson: 1-3, R, 2B, BB

Allen: 1-3, RBI, BB, K

Pena: 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 H, 2 BB, 5 SO

The Whitecaps briefly had a slim lead on Sunday, but they couldn’t hold it and eventually lost in 10 innings.

Wilkel Hernandez got the start, and he allowed two runs in the bottom of the first. In the third, the ‘Caps tied it up. Stephenson walked to lead off the inning and then stole second base. Luke Gold was hit by a pitch and then a wild pitch moved the runners to second and third. Stephenson scored on a Gage Workman ground out, and an Eliezer Alfonzo single scored Gold to make it 2-2.

An Allen home run, his 17th for the ‘Caps, made it 3-2 in the fifth, but in the eighth, Peoria tied it up against reliever Elvis Alvarado. The ‘Caps got a run in the top of the 10th, but Peoria scored two against Jordan Marks to walk it off.

Allen: 3-4, R, RBI, HR, BB, K

Pacheco: 2-4, BB, K

Gold: 1-3, R, 2B

Hernandez: 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, BB, 5 K

Coming Up Next: The Whitecaps still hold a 1.5 game lead in the East Division. They’ll head to Lansing for six with the Lugnuts on Tuesday night.

Lakeland Flying Tigers 6, Clearwater Threshers 2 (box)

Lakeland Flying Tigers 2, Clearwater Threshers 1 (box)

The Flying Tigers remain on a monstrous tear in the second half, and they took both weekend games to win this series 5-1. They now hold a four game lead in the West Division of the Florida State League, with a 36-18 record in the second half.

On Saturday, Matt Walker gave the Flying Tigers six innings of two-run ball. They took the lead in the fourth and never looked back. The inning started with a Cole Turney walk. Clayton Campbell struck out but Brett Callahan walked as well. A John Pack single loaded the bases and a Jim Jarvis single cleared the bases with the help of a throwing error on Clearwater’s center fielder. 3-1 Lakeland.

Clearwater scored one in the top of the sixth, but in the bottom half, Callahan led off with a triple and Peck walked. A chopper back to the pitcher from Jarvis went for a throwing error as Callahan scored. Max Anderson lifted a sac fly that scored Peck, and it was 5-2.

A Jose De La Cruz solo shot in the seventh completed the scoring.

De La Cruz: 2-5, R, RBI, HR, 2 K

Jarvis: 1-4, 3 RBI, BB

Callahan: 1-2, 2 R, 2B, 2 BB, K

Peck: 1-2, 2 R, 2 BB, K

2023 fifth rounder Jaden Hamm gave the Flying Tigers a solid outing and the bullpen held up throughout a close game on Sunday.

Hamm was perfect through three innings, striking out a pair and throwing 24 of 32 pitches for strikes. His teammates quickly gave him a lead to work with in the bottom of the first.

Max Clark led off with a walk and Cristian Santana followed suit. A Jim Jarvis ground rule double to left scored Clark and moved Santana to third. Max Anderson drew a walk, and then Kevin McGonigle lifted a sacrifice fly to score Santana. 2-0 Lakeland.

Reliever Eric Mendez allowed a run in the seventh, but that was all Clearwater could manage.

Clark: 1-3, R, 2B, BB

Jarvis: 1-3, RBI, 2B, K

Coming Up Next: The Flying Tigers head to Jupiter to battle the Hammerheads this week. First pitch on Tuesday night is set for 6:30 p.m. ET.

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