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Published: Saturday, 8/13/2005

Mud Hens skid to extra-inning win

BY MAUREEN FULTON
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Brandon Harper took some kidding from his teammates after his unorthodox slide, but the Mud Hens won their 4th in a row. Brandon Harper took some kidding from his teammates after his unorthodox slide, but the Mud Hens won their 4th in a row.
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Brandon Harper's slide into home wasn't graceful, and it didn't escape teasing from his teammates.

But no matter how he scored, the run gave the Mud Hens a 4-3 extra-inning victory in front of 10,300 at Fifth Third Field.

The Hens tied the game in the ninth, then won it in the 10th when Kevin Hooper drove in Harper from third with a fly ball to center field.

Harper's adventure on the base paths began when Clippers sidearm hurler Colter Bean hit him with a pitch. He stole second on a hit-and-run attempt, and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt. Coming home, Harper tripped forward, fell on top of the plate and skidded, scraping his hands.

After the game, the Hens watched highlights of their win on TV in the locker room, laughing with Harper about his unorthodox method.

"It was a bad slide, I wasn't sure which way to go in," Harper said. "It's the mark of a good team, winning games at the end of the game. We made some things happen, got guys on base."

The Hens tied the game in the ninth inning, helped by two Columbus errors. With Toledo trailing 3-2, Mike Hessman drew a one-out walk and Hens manager Larry Parrish sent Dewayne Wise in to pinch-run for him.

Wise stole second base, and catcher Wil Nieves' throw went into center field, allowing Wise to advance to third. After Alexis Gomez grounded out, Ryan Raburn grounded to shortstop Caonabo Cosme. Cosme's throw was wild and Wise scored.

"As a team, everybody just keeps each other going, and everybody tries to chip in and do something," Hens outfielder Marcus Thames said.

Zach Miner's second outing for the Hens did not go as smoothly as his first. Kevin Reese hit his second pitch of the game out of the park. In 51/3 innings Miner gave up seven hits and all three runs. A week ago at Indianapolis Miner allowed just two hits and no runs in five innings.

Mark Woodyard (4-2) had two strikeouts in the 10th inning to get the win.

The Clippers had 11 hits, but the Hens kept it close in the late innings with defense.

Columbus loaded the bases with one out in the sixth and eighth innings. In the sixth Alexis Gomez threw out Joe Thurston at home after catching a fly in right. In the eighth, the Hens got out of the inning on a double play.

For most of the game, the Hens had trouble at the plate. Hens hitters had just five hits, and Clippers pitchers Sean Henn and Jorge De Paula combined for 13 strikeouts.

"We were shut down for a while, but things just kind of went our way tonight," Harper said.

The Hens scored their other runs in the bottom of the second, when Hessman doubled and scored on Ryan Raburn's 16th home run of the year to left.

Contact Maureen Fulton at:

mfulton@theblade.com

or 419-724-6160.



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