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Published: Saturday, 4/27/2002

Scranton pitchers continue plucking Mud Hens


MOOSIC, Pa. - Watching from the dugout Thursday, Joe Roa had a pretty good seat to see Brett Myers dominate the Toledo Mud Hens en route to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre's first one-hitter in 11 years.

But the odds of it happening again to the same team at the same place in the span of 24 hours seemed a long shot.

That long shot came in last night. Roa, Hector Mercado and Elio Serrano combined on a one-hitter and struck out 11 as the Red Barons benefited from two unearned runs in a 2-0 International League victory at Lackawanna County Stadium.

“It goes without saying that Brett pitched a great game Thursday night,” said Roa, who pitched the first six innings and was responsible for the only Toledo hit, a one-out single to right by Chris Wakeland in the second inning. “It was great to be out there today and contribute. We came away with another win.”

The numbers certainly don't lie and right now the Mud Hens are struggling. Through the first 18 innings of the four-game series, Toledo has managed two hits while striking out 21 times.

“This is my 14th year in pro ball and I don't think I've ever seen anything like this,” Roa said of the back-to-back one-hitters. “I don't remember anything like that.”

Toledo, which came into the game next to last in the IL in hitting with a team batting average of .227 saw it dip to .220 after just the one hit in 26 official trips to the plate.

“I've never been around a team that has two hits in 18 innings,” Toledo manager Bruce Fields said. “It's like a first. I guess if you stay in this game long enough, you will see everything. It's unbelievable. This is just one of the phases we have to battle ourselves out of.”

“The man we were facing tonight was nasty,” Red Barons manager Marc Bombard said. “He was very impressive. You could just get a feeling early on that we weren't going to get much.”

The Red Barons were happy to take what the Hens gave them. A throwing error by shortstop Omar Infante in the fourth inning led to the first run and in the sixth, some aggressive baserunning led to an insurance run.

Marlon Byrd led off the sixth with a single and Nick Punto reached base on a throwing error by third baseman Jarrod Patterson. Byrd and Punto pulled off a double steal to set up a sacrifice fly by Gene Schall for the second run.

Roa, whose six innings of work were his longest outing of his four starts, gave way to Mercado to start the seventh. Mercado worked around a one-out walk and struck out the side and handed the ball to Serrano, who pitched the final two innings for his second save.

“Everybody is trying hard,” Fields said. “They are trying to do too much, they all want to be the guy to snap us out of it and get the hit to get us rolling.”

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