Hens Remain in the Hunt with Win vs Columbus
TOLEDO, Ohio - With six games remaining of the regular season, the Toledo Mud Hens were trailing the division leaders, Nashville Sounds by 5.0 games. Coming into this game, Toledo's elimination number was down to two. Leading 3-1 in their current home stand over the Columbus Clippers, Daniel Ponce De Leon took the mound hoping to keep the potential playoff hopes alive for the Mud Hens.
Ponce De Leon would begin his start giving up one walk but retiring the side with a strikeout. In the bottom half of the first, the Toledo Mud Hens got off to a hot start. John Valente would lead off the bottom half with a double (13). Then, he would move to third from a passed ball. However, Zack Short and Kody Clemens would strikeout as they failed to bring him in and there were two outs. That would not stop Daz Cameron, as he would single to center to bring in Valente from third. Cameron would also steal his 16th bag of the year to move him into scoring position. The next batter, Josh Lester would leg out a towering triple (2) to deep left field to bring in Cameron from second. Lester's triple gave him his 15th RBI of the year when runners are in scoring position, with two outs. The Mud Hens now had a 2-0 lead after the first inning.
Daniel Ponce De Leon would have a 1-2-3 inning in the second, tallying his second strikeout in the ballgame. He would also have another shutout inning in the third. At this point, he had not given up a hit and looked to stay hot in his performance after three innings of work. However, he would give up his first hit in the fourth inning. In the top of the fourth and one away, the Clippers would hit a double against the Toledo shift down the left field line. But Ponce De Leon escaped the inning, not giving up a run. He would strike out the next batter for the final out, giving him his third punch out of the ballgame.
In the bottom half of the fourth with one away, the Mud Hens would threaten with a couple of walks. Then with two outs, Ali Sanchez would load the bases with a walk. John Valente would tally his first RBI of the game, as the Clippers walked their fourth batter of the inning and Brendon Davis would score from third. The Mud Hens would draw another walk, as Zack Short would join the walk parade, and Andre Lipcius would score from third. After the five-walk, two-run inning. The Mud Hens led 4-0 at the end of four.
The Clippers would threaten in the fifth inning. After Daniel Ponce De Leon would cause a line out to center, Columbus's Bryan Lavastida would single to left. Then, Ponce De Leon tallied his second out of the inning with a pop out to short. Clippers, Jose Fermin would add a single to left for himself to put runners on first and second with two away. Daniel Ponce De Leon would walk the next batter and the Clippers now had the bases loaded. Daniel Ponce De Leon would avoid a big inning from Columbus, as he struck out the next batter to record the final out of the inning. The Columbus Clippers left the bases full, and the Mud Hens still led 4-0. That would conclude Daniel Ponce De Leon's start for tonight's game. He went five strong innings, giving up no runs on three hits, and gave up a walk. He struck out four batters to end the night.
After a scoreless bottom half of the fifth, Sam Howard would come in the game from the bullpen to replace Ponce De Leon. Columbus's Nolan Jones would reach safely with an error to lead off the inning. Then, Jhonkensy Noel would hit his first double of the season. Howard would strike out the next batter to retire the first batter of the inning. Then, Columbus would get on the board with a sacrifice fly. The score was now 4-1 in favor of Toledo with two outs. Sam Howard would prevent a big inning from Columbus, as he tallied a 5-3 groundball to hold Columbus to one run.
Cody Sedlock would come in to replace Sam Howard in the top of the seventh. He would record the first out, then give up a double to left. Following the double, he gave up a walk to put runners on first and second with one way. Then, Sedlock would record the next out after trailing 3-0 in the count. He would strike out the next batter and the Hens escaped another inning. In the bottom half of the seventh, Daz Cameron would steal his second bag of the game (17th of the year). However, the Hens were held scoreless in the seventh.
Drew Carlton would come into replace Sedlock in the eighth and began the inning striking out the first batter, Jhonkensy Noel. He would walk the next batter but retire the next two with ease and the Mud Hens still held a 4-1 lead. Miguel Diaz would come out of the bullpen in the ninth inning to record his seventh save, despite giving up a run. The Mud Hens won tonight's game with a score of 4-2. A win in tonight's game keeps the Mud Hens in the playoff hunt. The Mud Hens currently lead the series 4-1.
"Daniel has had three good quality starts for us. He gets one more, and he has been a great addition to us." Manager Lloyd McClendon said.
Josh Lester: 2-4, 3B, RBI
Daniel Ponce De Leon: GS, W (4-3), 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
NEXT UP: The Mud Hens will look to continue their winning ways tomorrow at Fifth Third Field. The game will start at 5:00pm ET. The Mud Hens remain in the hunt and will look to continue that trend tomorrow.
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