Rodriguez Hits 200th Home Run in Victory
Toledo, Ohio - The Mud Hens came out on top in a back and forth matchup with the Columbus Clippers tonight, claiming an 8-7 victory over the division rival. The win decreased the Hens division clinching magic number to two games. However, should Omaha lose their game tonight against the Iowa Cubs, the magic number would be further decreased to just one game, meaning the Hens may have a chance to clinch the divisional title during tomorrow's home game.
RHP Nivaldo Rodriguez worked a quick first inning for Toledo, allowing a two out walk but nothing more in a scoreless frame. The Hens offense got rolling quickly in the bottom of the inning as Daz Cameron led off the inning with a line drive to center. A walk to Spencer Torkelson put the first two runners on for Isaac Paredes. Paredes would promptly line a three run homer to left field, giving the Hens an early 3-0 lead. Zack Short would single later in the inning but would be left on base.
N. Rodriguez continued to pitch well into the second inning, retiring the Clippers in order. Meanwhile in the bottom of the inning, the Mud Hens would be limited to a single by Grayson Greiner as the bats started to fall silent.
Trailing 3-0 to start the third, Columbus started chipping away at the Toledo lead after a single, error, and another single scored a run. With the lead cut to 3-1, N. Rodriguez buckled down and finished the inning, stranding two. The Hens would be retired in order for the first time all evening in the bottom of the third, keeping the score 3-1.
N. Rodriguez struggled with control in the top of the fourth, walking the first two batters faced. A two out double to right scored both runners, trying the game 3-3. The Hens would be limited to a Zack Short single, his second hit of the game, in the bottom of the third. Columbus would go on to erase Short on a double play as part of a scoreless inning.
RHP Will Vest entered the game in relief of N. Rodriguez to start the fifth, working a quick 1-2-3 inning. The Hens continued to try and rekindle the offensive spark that they had in the first inning as the Clippers retired the Toledo lineup in order for third consecutive inning.
Vest continued to work into the sixth for the Mud Hens, allowing a one out single but nothing more as the score remained 3-3. Looking to reclaim the lead and break the tie, Riley Greene led off the bottom of the sixth with a walk. A single by Isaac Paredes but two on and nobody out for Aderlin Rodriguez. Rodriguez would rope a single into a right but a bobble by the Columbus defense allowed Greene to come in to score. Now leading 4-3 but looking for more, Zack Short demolished a ball to deep to left field for a three run blast.
Suddenly leading 7-3, RHP Joe Navilhon took over for Vest in the top of the seventh. Navilhon struggled mightily in his appearance, immediately hitting a batter before giving up a single, double, and walk. With the lead cut to 7-5, RHP Nolan Blackwood came into the game to try and stop the bleeding. Unfortunately for the Hens, Blackwood wouldn't be able to, serving up a two run blast to the first batter he faced. Blackwood would eventually end the frame but the damage had been done as the game was once again tied. Riley Greene would record a two out single in the bottom of the seventh but that was all the offense the Mud Hens could muster as Greene would be left on base.
Blackwood continued to pitch into the eighth, working a quick 1-2-3 inning. Aderlin Rodriguez led off for the Hens in the bottom of the inning, taking the first pitch he saw deep to right for a home run. Beyond giving the Hens an 8-7 lead, Rodriguez's blast also marked his 200th career minor league home run and his 80th RBI on the 2021 season.
RHP Angel De Jesus entered the game in the top of the ninth, looking to save his fourth ballgame of the season for the Hens. De Jesus would hit a batter in the inning but otherwise throw a scoreless frame, securing a Mud Hens victory.
What's Next: The Mud Hens take on the Columbus Clippers again tomorrow in game three of a six game set. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.
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