Ezequiel Carrera is caught in a rundown by Louisville third baseman Ruben Gotay during the eighth inning. He was tagged out for the second out in the inning, costing the Hens a chance to score.
Through two games, Mud Hens hitters have more strikeouts than innings the team has played.
And on Saturday, they played a whole bunch of innings.
Toledo batters struck out 20 times, bringing their season total to 30 in a 3-2 loss to Louisville in 13 innings at Fifth Third Field.
No. 3 hitter Hernan Perez struck out four times, and JD Martinez, Mike Hessman, and Ben Guez each fanned three times. Three other Hens struck out twice.
"Twenty’s too many," manager Larry Parrish said. "If we’re gonna strike out, we also have to hit the ball in the gap and out of the ballpark. We’re just not doing that right now."
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Louisville went ahead in the 13th inning on Ryan LaMarre’s one-out single to center off Nate Robertson, Toledo’s seventh pitcher of the evening.
The Hens started their half of the frame with singles up the middle by Ezequiel Carrera and Perez. Both advanced into scoring position on a wild pitch before Martinez went down swinging. Louisville’s Josh Smith, his team’s fourth pitcher, popped up Hessman on the 11th pitch of the at-bat before striking out Guez for the third out.
"We’ve got some guys with thump in our lineup, so strikeouts are gonna come," said Daniel Fields, who struck out twice and also homered.
The game, which began at 6:03 p.m., ended four-and-a-half hours later.
Toledo put the leadoff batter on in two other late innings but couldn’t advance them. Hessman was caught stealing in the ninth, and Guez was called for batter interference in the 11th, stranding Perez at first.
With a chance to end the game in the 12, Worth struck out with Fields on third. Fields tripled off the wall in left field the previous at-bat.
Another blunder cost the Hens in the eighth when Carrera got caught in a rundown between second and third base for the second out.
It took 14 batters for Toledo to get on base. Guez broke up Tim Crabbe’s perfect game with one out in the fifth inning by lining a single to left. The Hens managed nine hits and left 18 on base.
The arms are outperforming the bats, a common development in these chilly early season affairs. A day after the Hens needed four relief pitchers, they rolled out six. Robertson suffered the loss, and the pen surrendered two runs over the final eight innings.
Right-hander Justin Miller, Toledo’s fifth pitcher of the night, needed just three pitches to load the bases in the 10th, serving up a leadoff double and a bunt before plunking designated hitter Thomas Neal. Miller stayed composed, forcing a flyout and fanning two batters to strand Jason Bourgeois at third.
"You do that, you usually win those games," Parrish said.
Bourgeois tied the game at 2 in the eighth, plating Aregenis Diaz on a groundout to shortstop. Hens right fielder Carrera couldn’t make a catch in foul territory earlier in the at-bat.
Crabbe went six innings for the Bats, striking out eight. He surrendered two hits, including a bomb to center by Daniel Fields on the first pitch of the sixth. The ball cleared the wall by a foot or two, grazing the batter’s eye for Toledo’s first homer of the year.
Crabbe’s counterpart, Drew VerHagen, lasted five innings in his Mud Hens debut. VerHagen matched Crabbe’s dominance for a while, retiring the first 11 batters he faced before serving up consecutive singles in the fourth.
He served up his lone run in the fifth on a Diaz shot to shallow right.
The first four innings took an hour to finish. The final nine innings took 3 1/2 hours.
Tag(s): Mud Hens