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Published: Saturday, 7/19/2003

Inge paces Mud Hens

SPECIAL TO THE BLADE

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Good pitching and defense win ballgames, but a few timely hits don't hurt.

The Toledo Mud Hens had all the ingredients last night at P&C Stadium, and cooked up a 6-2 victory over the Syracuse SkyChiefs.

Brandon Inge helped a strong pitching performance by Shane Loux with three hits that scored three runs for the Mud Hens as Loux moved into a tie for the International League lead with 10 wins.

Inge doubled home Gene Kingsale in the third to put the Mud Hens on the board.

Kingsale doubled down the right-field line in the fifth, scoring Omar Infante.

Inge stepped to the plate with Kingsale on second and crushed the ball to left off Syracuse starter Vinny Chulk (4-7) for a two-run homer, his third of the year.

``I think the guys did a good job tonight defensively and offensively,'' Inge said. ``Loux pitched a great ballgame and shut Syracuse down. After we got a lead for him it seemed he just cruised.''

Inge added a single in the seventh inning, going 3-for-4, and fell short of the cycle when he walked in the eighth.

``We did a good job of putting the ball in play today,'' Inge said. ``We were able to find the holes in the defense. It's good for our offense to get some runs on the board so we can get back into a comfort zone and start winning again.''

In the eighth Toledo had the bases loaded. Infante lofted the ball to left but Syracuse left fielder Kurt Keene leaped above the eight-foot wall and caught the ball beyond the fence, robbing Infante of a grand slam. The sacrifice fly scored Hiram Bocachica.

``That's all [Infante] had ... he hit the ball well,'' Toledo manager Larry Parrish said. ``Their guy made a nice play on it to bring it back in but Omar can't hit it any better than that.''

Patrick Lennon walked and scored on Brant Ust's single to left in the two-run eighth, closing out the Hens' scoring.

``I was trying to stay consistent to make sure to keep the team in the game,'' Loux said. ``I felt really good after having a few days off. I was just trying to throw strikes and let [Syracuse] hit the balls on the ground. That's dangerous with the [Syracuse turf] but they hit right at guys tonight and we came out with the win.''

Syracuse (40-55) scored a pair of runs off Loux in the seventh. Gary Burnham doubled and scored on a ground out by Gabe Gross. Kevin Cash doubled to center and scored when Keene hit a hot grounder that went off Loux's glove and into left field for a single.

Loux was able to snare a line drive by Jorge Sequea to end the SkyChiefs' rally. ``I just put my glove up where I thought it was going to be,'' Loux explained about his quick reaction. ``You don't try and catch those. It found its way into my glove and ended the inning. When balls come back at me it either scares me or gets me [real angry]. That one made me [real angry] so I threw the ball down and ran off the field.''

Loux (10-6) scattered seven Syracuse hits, walked two and struck out four in seven innings.

Eric Eckenstahler worked two innings of shutout relief to preserve the win.



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