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Published: Thursday, 4/21/2005

Hens' Douglass near perfect

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Toledo starter Sean Douglass (2-0) allowed only one Charlotte baserunner to reach third base in seven shutout innings. Toledo starter Sean Douglass (2-0) allowed only one Charlotte baserunner to reach third base in seven shutout innings.
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Mud Hens starter Sean Douglass was his own worst critic last night.

He also was his only critic after shutting out Charlotte for seven innings in Toledo's 1-0 victory over the Knights at Fifth Third Field.

"I got the result I wanted, but I felt I was really struggling all night," Douglass said after allowing just five hits and one walk in his 97-pitch masterpiece. "Nothing was truly sharp, although the off-speed pitch came along later in the game. And locating the fastball was a 50-50 [proposition].

"But I was able to make big pitches, and our defense was able to make the plays when I needed them to."

The 25-year-old right-hander allowed only one Charlotte base-runner to reach third base. That came in the third, when Scott Bikowski singled, was sacrificed to second and took third on a flyout.

Bikowski was stranded at third when Douglass got Felix Martinez to fly out.

"I wasn't able to get ahead [of hitters] the way I wanted to, but I was able to get back into the count when I fell behind," said Douglass, who threw first-pitch strikes to just four of the first 12 hitters he faced. "And if I got ahead of guys, I wasn't able to put them away and they'd work their way back [into the at-bat]."

Douglass also escaped potential trouble in the fourth. He walked the first hitter, Joe Borchard, but got ahead of Jorge Toca and coaxed the former Hen to ground into a double play.

That proved to be important when the next batter, Brian Anderson, doubled. The 6-6, 235-pound Douglass got a groundout to end that threat.

"There's a lot of luck involved in baseball, and [last night] I felt I had a little of it going my way," Douglass said.

The only unlucky thing for Douglass was that Charlotte starter Jon Adkins, who came into the contest with an 0-2 record and 16.71 ERA, matched him pitch-for-pitch. Actually, Adkins did Douglass one better, striking out six Hens through the first three innings and not allowing Toledo to advance a runner past second.

The Mud Hens scored the game's only run in the fourth inning when Mike Hessman slammed a 1-0 Adkins fastball well over the fence in right-center for his first home run.

"I'm off to a slow start, but I feel pretty good up there. Some balls just aren't falling for me," Hessman said. "I know I'm going to come around."

Hessman came in with four hits, all singles, in 40 at-bats.

That single run was enough for Douglass and Craig Dingman, who relieved Douglass in the eighth. Dingman retired six of the seven batters he faced, striking out three, to claim his second save of the season.

Contact John Wagner at:jwagner@theblade.com

or 419-724-6481.



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