FORT MILL, S.C. - Former Mud Hen Trace Coquillette stole one of baseball's ultimate prizes from Toledo starter Sean Douglass after he gave the Mud Hens two big gifts in the early innings of last night's second of two seven-inning games here as Toledo beat Charlotte 4-1 twice.
Douglass retired the first 12 batters he faced and took a no-hitter into the bottom of the sixth inning before Coquillette hit a one-out single to left, ending Douglass' no-hit bid just five outs from completion.
"You never go into a game thinking you are going to throw a no-hitter," Douglass said. "I made a good pitch to Coquillette and he was able to get enough on it to fight it into left field for a hit."
That hit was one of three Douglass allowed in 61/3 innings.
"My goal was to establish my fastball and keep the ball down in the zone," Douglass said. "If I do that, I can be aggressive with all my pitches and focus on getting early outs."
Douglass was aggressive all night, throwing a first-pitch strike to 16 of the 21 batters he faced. For the game, he threw 82 pitches, 56 for strikes.
"Sean threw like a big-league pitcher tonight," Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish said. "He had great command of all his pitches and was extremely effective."
As good as Douglass was on the mound, the Knights were equally as pitiful in the field. Charlotte committed four errors in the game, two of them by Coquillette.
Two of those miscues came in the second inning. With Jack Hannahan on first and one out, Curtis Granderson hit a sharp grounder past second baseman Coquillette that was ruled an error. After a Kevin Hooper popout, Gookie Dawkins hit a grounder to shortstop Pedro Lopez, who threw the ball into right field attempting to force Granderson at second, allowing Hannahan to score and and giving Toledo a 3-0 advantage.
Another Charlotte error led to a Toledo run in the third. With a runner on first and no outs, Byron Gettis hit a grounder to short, forcing the runner at second. Coquillette attempted to turn the double play but threw the ball into the first-base dugout, sending Gettis to second. Gettis scored on a single up the middle by Brandon Harper.
Toledo's first two runs came as Granderson hit a leadoff single to center and took second on an error by Charlotte center fielder Brian Anderson. After Dawkins reached on a bunt single, Chris Shelton hit a double off the center-field wall, scoring Granderson. Dawkins scored on a groundout by Gettis.
Shelton has hit in all seven games.
The first game of the doubleheader was a pitchers' battle too, with highly touted Mud Hen Kenny Baugh facing Brandon McCarthy.
Baugh, a first-round draft pick of the Tigers in 2001, was a top prospect before missing the entire 2002 season due to shoulder surgery. McCarthy is ranked as the top pitching prospect in the White Sox organization by Baseball America. McCarthy breezed through the first four innings, holding Toledo to two hits and striking out four. The fifth inning was a different story, as the Mud Hens scored three runs.
Ryan Raburn hit a one-out single to left and scored from first on a two-out double by Dawkins. Dewayne Wise followed with a two-run homer to left on the 10th pitch of the at-bat, giving the Mud Hens a 3-1 lead.
That was plenty for Baugh and the Mud Hen bullpen.
Baugh yielded one run on four hits in five innings. Jason Karnuth worked a perfect seventh to pick up the save, his second of the season.