Justice Bigbie and Spencer Torkelson power the Mud Hens

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Toledo Mud Hens 8, Iowa Cubs 4 (box)

Brent Hurter’s start imploded a bit in the fourth inning, but big nights from Justice Bigbie, Spencer Torkelson, and Jace Jung powered them to victory anyway. That’s a pretty potent group of hitters at the Triple-A level and they showed it in this one.

Things were pretty quiet for three innings with neither side producing a real threat. In the top of the fourth, Torkelson led off with a single and was wild pitched to second. A Jung ground out moved Tork to third and Dillon Dingler, Bligh Madris, and Ryan Vilade all drew walks to force in the first run of the game.

Unfortunately, Hurter lost his command a bit in the bottom half and a good outing turned inside out. A double, a hit batter, and a walk, created a dangerous situation. Three singles before Hurter could out of the inning plated four runs from Iowa, who led 4-1.

Hurter spun a clean fifth before his night ended. Alex Lange took over for an inning, while lefty Easton Lucas, claimed from the A’s a few weeks ago, dominated for three perfect innings with five strikeouts. Lucas sat 94-95 mph with his fourseamer, mixing it a 91 mph cutter, and racking up whiffs on a low 80’s slider as well.

Dominant relief work gave the Hens time for a big comeback and they got it rolling in the seventh. Vilade led off with a single and Justice Bigbie launched a two-run shot to right center field to make it 4-3 Iowa.

They weren’t done, as with one out Parker Meadows single and stole second, scoring on a Torkelson double to right field. Jace Jung flew out, advancing Tork to third. Dillon Dingler walked and stole second before Eddys Leonard walked to load the bases. A Madris ground out scored Torkelson to make it 5-4 Hens.

In the eighth, Bigbie led off with a double, and with two outs, Torkelson doubled to left to score Bigbie, Jace Jung followed with a two-run shot to right and it was 8-4, where it ended.

Torkelson: 3-5, 3 R, 2 RBI, 2 2B

Bigbie: 2-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2B, HR, BB

Dingler: 2-3, 2 BB, K, SB

Coming Up Next: It’s an 8:08 p.m. ET start on Friday night. The Hens lead the series two games to one.

New Hampshire Fisher Cats 4, Erie SeaWolves 3 (box)

Carlos Pena gave Erie another good start, but the bullpen couldn’t hold a late lead as they fell behind in the series two games to one on Thursday night.

The SeaWolves captured an early lead when Trei Cruz led off the fourth inning with his fourth home run on the season. Jake Holton followed with a double and was wild pitched to third, scoring on an Eliezer Alfonzo double play ball to make it 2-0 Erie.

Gifted a small lead, Pena made it hold up with three scoreless innings before surrendering a solo shot in the fourth inning. Angel Reyes allowed a run in the fifth that tied the game.

Holton gave the SeaWolves back the lead when he led off the bottom of the seventh with a double and a pair of ground outs moved him around to score. 3-2 Erie.

Unfortunately, RJ Petit couldn’t hang on for the save. A single and a two-run shot put Erie behind the eight-ball, and in the bottom half they got a one-out walk from Cruz, but Holton grounded into a game ending double play.

Holton: 3-4, 2 R, 2 2B

Cruz: 1-3, R, RBI, HR, BB,

Pena: 4.0 IP, ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 5 K

Coming Up Next: The SeaWolves will look to even the series on Friday at 6:35 p.m. ET, with fireworks scheduled after the game.

West Michigan Whitecaps 5, South Bend Cubs 3 (box)

The Whitecaps seized a 2-1 series lead with a good effort on Thursday night. Colin Fields gave them a decent start, and the offense finally warmed up for a comeback victory.

The Whitecaps nearly got on the board in the top of the first. Max Anderson singled with two outs and was wild pitched to second. Luis Santana walked, and another wild pitch moved them to second and third. Starter Will Sanders looked to be coming apart early, but he managed to get out of it via a Roberto Campos ground out.

Colin Fields took the mound and for three innings was completely in charge. However, in the fourth he ran into trouble. A one out double and then a single put traffic on the basepaths for South Bend. Fields struck out the next hitter, but the Cubs pulled off a double steal of second and home to take a 1-0 lead. A little rattled, Fields left a pitch up over the middle of the zone and Jonathon Long smoked it for a two-run shot. 3-0 South Bend. Fields spun a clean fifth before his outing ended. Marco Jimenez relieved him with two scoreless innings, and then the offense finally got it going.

In the sixth, Dom Johnson led off with a solo shot, his first of the year with the Whitecaps, to get them on the board. In the seventh, Campos led off with a single, and with one out, Peyton Graham singled as well. Josh Crouch doubled them both in with the help of a throwing error on the relay that got Crouch to third. A Seth Stephenson sacrifice fly scored him to give the ‘Caps a 4-3 lead. They’d add one more in the eighth as wildness from the Cubs bullpen cost them.

Michael Bienlien wrapped things up with a six-out save, his fourth of the season.

Anderson: 1-2, R, 2 BB

Johnson: 1-3, R, RBI, HR, BB

Fields: 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 H, BB, 6 K

Coming Up Next: It’s a 7:05 p.m. ET first pitch on Friday night.

Lakeland Flying Tigers 1, Jupiter Hammerheads 0 (box)

The Flying Tigers stayed on course, winning their fifth straight in a tense contest on Thursday.

Hayden Minton was very good in this one. The Tigers’ ninth rounder out of Missouri State last year went four scoreless innings, striking out seven to five hits and two walks allowed. The right-hander ramped his sinker up to 95 mph and got plenty of whiffs and weak contact on it, though neither breaking ball was that impressive in this one.

Connor Holden was even better in relief, spinning three perfect innings with six strikeouts.

The Flying Tigers offense had one baserunner apiece in five of the first six frames but wasn’t able to do anything with them. They got two on with one out in the seventh courtesy of a Clayton Campbell single and an error on an Alvaro Gonzalez ground ball, but again a ground out and a line out ended the inning with no results.

Right-hander Carlos Lequerica took over in the eighth and kept Jupiter off the board despite allowing a single and a double to start the inning.

Finally in the bottom half, David Smith led off with a walk and stole second base. Samuel Gil walked as well, and Daneurys De La Cruz singled up the middle to score Smith. 1-0 Flying Tigers.

Donye Evans collected his fourth save allowing just a one-out single in the bottom of the ninth.

Gil: 1-2, 2 BB

Smith: 0-2, R, 2 BB, K, SB

Minton: 4.0 IP, 0 R, 5 H, 2 BB, 7 K

Coming Up Next: Lakeland looks to make it six in a row at 6:30 p.m. ET on Friday.

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