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Published: Saturday, 4/17/2004

Hens beat Knights with 9th-inning rally


FORT MILL, S.C. - The Toledo Mud Hens scored three runs in the top of the ninth and survived a Charlotte rally in the bottom of the frame to defeat the Knights 7-6 last night at Knights Stadium.

Warren Morris led off the top of the ninth by greeting Charlotte closer and loser Gary Majewski with an opposite-field home run to left. That tied the score at 5-5.

Danny Klassen followed with a single, and he moved to second on a sacrifice by Andy Barkett. A single by Marcus Thames plated Klassen to give the Hens a 6-5 lead.

Thames took second on the throw to the plate and scored when Joe Vitiello s ground ball to first baseman Mike Rivera bounced off his glove and rolled into short right field.

The Knights scored one in the bottom of the inning against Toledo closer Franklyn German, who entered the game to begin the bottom of the eighth with the Hens trailing 5-4.

Bryant Nelson reached on a bunt single to open the frame. After one out, he scored on a triple by Jeremy Reed. German, who picked up the win, got Rivera on a pop out to Morris at second base and Joe Borchard on a fly ball to Thames in right.

Toledo scored three runs in the first for a quick lead. Jason Smith opened the game with a single. Morris extended his hitting streak to nine games with a single, and Klassen walked to load the bases.

A pair of fielders choices and a Charlotte error allowed the three runs to cross the plate.

Charlotte answered with two in the bottom of the first. Nelson opened with a single and moved to second on a flyout to center field. He scored on a single by Reed, who stole second and scored on an error by Klassen.

Toledo took a 4-2 lead in the fourth. Mike DiFelice walked to get the inning started. Singles by Nook Logan and Jason Smith loaded the bases. Morris sacrifice fly scored DiFelice.

The Knights cut the lead to 4-3 in the bottom of the fourth. Mario Valenzuela s two-out homer accounted for the run.

Charlotte took a 5-4 lead with a pair of runs in the seventh.

Jamie Burke s single scored both runs and chased Mears in favor of David Cortes, who retired the next two hitters.

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