DURHAM, N.C. - One late-inning rally wouldn't do for the Mud Hens last night, so they staged a second.
Shut out for six innings, Toledo scored four times in the seventh, saw reliever Terry Pearson blow it on one pitch in the eighth, then exploded for six ninth-inning runs in a jaw-dropping display of power for a 10-5 victory over Durham.
For 20 minutes, the Hens (35-30) resembled the '27 Yankees. Jarrod Patterson tied the game at 5 with a leadoff homer off Travis Phelps.
Jacob Cruz followed with a missile to right-center that bounced off the top of the fence for a triple.
Michael Rivera, who keyed the Hens' seventh-inning uprising with a ringing two-run double, struck out, then Ryan Jackson was walked intentionally. Pinch-hitter Chris Wakeland delivered the go-ahead run with a single that scored Cruz and chased Phelps.
But the Hens weren't done. Eric Munson hammered the first pitch that Rick Croushore threw for a three-run homer, his 14th of the season, then Craig Wilson followed suit on Croushore's second pitch.
“I was lucky in that I was able to get it started,” said Patterson. “I was just trying to get on somehow, and I ended up getting good wood on a fastball. That got us going, I guess, sort of a spark or a chain reaction. It's a contagious game.”
The three-homer inning matched the Hens' season-best total for a game, which they'd done four times previously. And it came at the most opportune time, as Toledo had been scuffling, losers of five of its previous six, and opposed by a Bulls team (39-27) that had won seven in a row.
“That's the nature of baseball,” said Patterson, who had three of Toledo's 15 hits. “They'd been hot, and we hadn't played as well the past couple of days. Then all of a sudden a couple of things turn the other way, you get some pitches to hit and you don't miss them, and this is what can happen.”
Brian Moehler, on a rehab assignment, had a solid outing for Toledo - two runs, one earned, on six hits over seven innings with three strikeouts and no walks.
Oscar Henriquez pitched a one-hit, scoreless ninth and got credit for the victory.
WREN DIES: Bob Wren, a former Toledo Mud Hen who was later the baseball coach at Ohio University for 24 seasons, died of cancer yesterday. He was 81.
Wren, who became OU's coach in 1949 following six years in the minor leagues, was 464-160-4 and his .724 winning percentage ranks 12th on the NCAA's career list. He retired in 1972. His teams won 11 Mid-American Conference titles.
Wren played for the Mud Hens from 1943-47.