Almanzar Gives Hens Two Straight with Walk-Off
It was a back-and-forth affair on Wednesday afternoon, but Michael Almanzar 's walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth to give the Mud Hens a 5-4 win.
Matt Crouse started for the Mud Hens, finishing the first 5.0 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits, but walked just one and struck out six.
It took just two pitches for Gwinnett to get on the board, as Ozzie Albies hit a no-doubt blast to center field off Crouse.
The 1-0 Gwinnett lead would last until the bottom of the third when Toledo tied it up. Brendan Ryan walked with one out and Tyler Collins doubled to the gap to bring him home. After three, the game was tied at 1-1.
The tie game would not last for long as the Braves put a three-spot up in the top of the fourth. Rio Ruiz led off the inning with a home run to put Gwinnett out in front. Matt Tuiasosopo following with a singled and later scored on a David Freitas double. Emerson Landoni brought home Freitas with a two-out knock that squeezed under Ryan's glove at short.
Heading into the bottom of the fourth, the Hens faced a 4-1 deficit but instantly came back to tie it up once again. Jason Krizan stayed hot with an RBI double that scored Michael Almanzar and Miguel Gonzalez brought him home with a bloop single to right. Collins tallied his second RBI of the afternoon with a sac fly that scored Argenis Diaz who walked earlier in the frame. After four, the Hens were tied with the Braves at 4-4.
After a scoreless fifth inning for both teams, Logan Kensing entered in the top of the sixth in relief of Crouse. Kensing surrendered a one-out walk but induced a double play to end the inning and keep the game tied up.
Toledo chased Gwinnett starter Aaron Blair in the bottom of the sixth when Gonzalez doubled and Ryan singled to put runners at first and third with one out. Akeel Morris entered and retired the next two batters to strand both inherited runners. Blair's line finished at 5.1 innings, allowing four runs on eight hits, walking three, and striking out four.
Jeff Ferrell pitched a scoreless seventh as he stranded a one-out hit. The Hens couldn't break the tie in the bottom of the inning, as they were retired in order.
Arcenio Leon came on in the eighth and struck out a pair as he stranded a man on second base. The Hens put Diaz as far as second base with two outs, but Ryan struck out to end the eighth inning.
In the top of the ninth, Joe Jimenez entered in a non-save situation and walked two batters, but stranded them on first and third to keep the game tied.
In the bottom of the ninth, JaCoby Jones reached on an error with two outs. Efren Navarro walked to put runners at first and second. A wild pitch advanced Jones to third and Almanzar followed with a bloop hit that dropped in front of the right fielder to give the Hens a walk-off victory.
The Hens and the Braves will meet again on Thursday with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
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