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Published: Monday, 7/21/2003

Wild pitch spoils Hen strategy in 15th

SPECIAL TO THE BLADE

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - The Toledo Mud Hens and the Syracuse SkyChiefs took 15 innings to decide the final game of their four-game series as a wild pitch by Corey Brittan (4-3) gave Syracuse a 5-4 win at P&C Stadium last night.

Ken Huckaby led off the 15th with a double to right and went to third on a sacrifice bunt by Glenn Williams. Yohanny Valera misplayed the slow roller up the first baseline and everyone was safe.

Toledo manager Larry Parrish then chose to intentionally walk Jimmy Alvarez and set up an infield shift that squashed a Syracuse scoring chance in the 10th but didn't matter this time because Brittan threw the ball in the dirt to Jorge Sequea - a wild pitch - and Ken Huckaby trotted home with the winning run.

“You hate to lose a game like that with a stinking ball in the dirt,” Parrish said. “We didn't give ourselves a chance to have the shift work in the 15th. We had a lot of opportunities to score and just couldn't get the big hit tonight.”

The shift used by Toledo brought Ernie Young in from left to play first and moved Kevin Jordan in front of second base.

Syracuse, not known for a strong bullpen, had four relievers combine to shut out the Hens over the last eight innings.

“We had guys pitch to us tonight that we have had success against in the past,” Parrish said. “We didn't touch them tonight. We just didn't get the big hit to drive in runs when we've had multiple men on base. We didn't get that hit this entire series.”

Kevin Frederick (1-2) earned the win for Syracuse.

Omar Infante finally found the range and forced extra innings in the longest game (by innings) for the Mud Hens this season, when he hit a two-run homer to left in the seventh inning off Syracuse starter Josh Towers.

Toledo starter Tyler Walker worked eight innings but surrendered a one-run lead in the fifth when Huckaby hit a solo homer and Sequea followed with a two-run blast.



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