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Published: Friday, 4/16/2004

Pair of 3-run homers beat Mud Hens


DURHAM, N.C. - Shane Loux flinched after Jonny Gomes didn t, and the result last night was Toledo s second loss in as many nights to the Durham Bulls, this time by a score of 7-2.

In a 1-1 game in the bottom of the fourth inning, with runners at first and second, the Mud Hens right-hander found himself facing Gomes.

Loux worked the right-handed batting Gomes inside with no avail, then left a 2-2 curveball up that the Bull hammered over the wall in left-center.

The blast provided the Bulls with a 4-1 lead, more than enough for three Durham pitchers to make stand up as the defending IL champs saddled the Hens with their third consecutive loss.

“He got in my head,” said Loux. “He didn t even flinch on some good fastballs inside. I was in a dilemma, and I don t get like that often.”

As a result, Loux said he got beat on a pitch that he wasn t quite ready to throw.

Loux s miscue wasn t the only pitch manager Larry Parrish would have liked to have had back, as a second Durham three-run homer in the eighth inning put the Hens away for good.

This time, reliever Craig Dingman, summoned to clean up a mess created by Eric Eckenstahler, was victimized by former Mud Hen Bubba Trammel. Again, it was on a 2-2 pitch.

“Two pitches, two three-run homers,” said Parrish. “That was the difference in the ballgame.”

For Dingman, it marked the third homer he has surrendered in four appearances, this after nearly making the big-league club out of spring training. Parrish speculated that Dingman s disappointment, coupled with the fact that his wife is due to deliver their second child any day, could be affecting his pitching, but Dingman said that s not the case.

“When I get between the lines, I put all of that stuff out of my mind,” he said. “Right now, I m just getting my butt kicked, and I have no one to blame but myself.”

NOTES: Outfielder Eric Owens is expected to join the Mud Hens in Charlotte today. Owens, one of the final roster cuts by the Mariners this spring, hit .270 in 111 games for Anaheim last year and has spent all or part of the past nine seasons in the major leagues.

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