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Published: Thursday, 7/25/2002

Munson hits 2 homers in 8-run second

BY RON MUSSELMAN
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
The Mud Hens' Eric Munson opens the second inning last night with a homer. Eight batters later in the same inning, Munson hit his second homer. The Mud Hens' Eric Munson opens the second inning last night with a homer. Eight batters later in the same inning, Munson hit his second homer.
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Eric Munson needs just six home runs in the final 39 games to shatter his own personal record for a season.

The 6-foot-3 left-handed, power-hitting first baseman should do that without breaking much of a sweat.

Munson belted a pair of home runs and drove in four runs last night in Toledo's eight-run second inning, helping the Mud Hens snap a two-game losing streak with an 8-0 victory over the Rochester Red Wings before 7,188 fans at Fifth Third Field.

“Hitting two homers in the same inning was pretty cool,” he said. “It's something I had never done before.”

Munson, who belted a combined 27 homers last year while playing at Double-A Erie and for the Detroit Tigers, has a team-high 22 round-trippers this season for the Mud Hens, who remained 1 1/2 games behind the first-place Louisville Bats in the International League's West Division.

Hens first baseman Eric Munson catches Eddy Garabito off first during a first-inning steal attempt. Munson chased and tagged Garabito after the pick-off throw by Pat Ahearne. Hens first baseman Eric Munson catches Eddy Garabito off first during a first-inning steal attempt. Munson chased and tagged Garabito after the pick-off throw by Pat Ahearne.
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He hit both of his homers last night off Rochester right-hander Josh Towers (0-6), and both landed in “The Roost” in right field.

Munson, the Tigers' first-round draft pick in 1999 and the third selection overall, led off the second inning with a solo homer on a 1-1 pitch, and he finished off the uprising by clubbing a three-run shot on a 3-2 pitch with two outs.

“On the first one, I hit a change-up,” he said. “On the second one, it was a fastball. Both of them pretty much were in the same location.”

“He had a really good game and hit the ball really well,” Mud Hens manager Bruce Fields said. “He's come from the low .200s to where he is now, where he's producing runs.”

Munson, 2-for-4, is batting .571 (8-for-14) in the last four games with three homers and eight RBIs.

He also pushed his season average to .252, which is quite a climb considering he was batting .196 through 59 games on June 6, with 13 homers and 25 RBIs.

“Historically, I've been a slow starter, but not nearly as slow as I started this year,” Munson said. “I have taken a different approach the last month-and-a-half or two months and I'm getting good results.”

Before last night, the last time a Mud Hens player hit two homers in one inning was on July 2, 1967, when Tom Matchick turned the trick against the Richmond Braves. Matchick homered twice in the fourth inning of that game and finished with three overall.

Munson also was the first IL player in nearly six years to hit two homers in the same inning. The last to accomplish the feat was Dwayne Hosey of the Pawtucket Red Sox against the Ottawa Lynx on Aug. 10, 1996.

Also in the Hens' season-high, eight-run second, Derek Nicholson had a two-run single, Craig Wilson an RBI single and Omar Infante a sacrifice fly as Toledo finished with eight hits in the inning, including four straight to open the frame.

That big inning was all Mud Hens right-hander Pat Ahearne (2-0) needed to record his second complete-game shutout since joining the team earlier this month.

“Pat did a great job,” Munson said. “He works fast and he's a lot of fun to play defense behind because he gets a lot of ground balls.”

Ahearne scattered four hits while walking four and striking out three. He got 16 groundball outs and three double plays.

“I was really feeling solid the whole game,” said Ahearne, who threw 118 pitches.



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