Mud Hens outfielder Marcus Thames continued his torrid hitting pace with singles in the first, third and sixth innings in Toledo s 4-2 playoff win over Norfolk last night.
Thames came into the game hitting .286 with two home runs and five RBIs in two playoff games. Thames, who extended his hitting streak to seven games, also paced the Hens hitting attack in the regular season, leading the team with a .340 batting average.
Earlier, Thames became just the fifth player in International League history to drive in three runs in one playoff game. He accomplished the feat in the Hens 6-5 win over Norfolk on Wednesday.
Thames said his focus remains on the team s goals. He said the team was focused on getting one win at Norfolk and winning the first game back at Fifth Third Field. Toledo is now up 2-1 in the series.
We wanted to win the first one here, he said. Now we have to come out [tonight] and play hard. They re not going to lay down.
TICKETS AVAILABLE: Tickets are still available for tonight s game. Sales have lagged a bit because it was uncertain whether a fourth game would be necessary.
Tickets can be purchased at the gate or by calling 419-725-HENS, on-line at mudhens.com or at Fifth Third Field. The box office opens at 9 a.m.
Tickets also are still available for tomorrow s game if one needs to be played.
MOTIVATIONAL MATERIAL: Hens officials used a quote from Tides manager Ken Oberkfell that appeared in the Virginian Pilot newspaper as motivation last night.
Oberkfell said he took out starter Yusmeiro Petit after the eighth inning in Thursday s game so that he could rest him for the championship series.
Petit allowed only six hits and three runs, but was pulled. The Tides did not have a pitcher throw a complete game in the entire regular season.
The Hens had the provoking quote on their bulletin board in the clubhouse before the game.
FANATIC FANS: Only 2,519 fans attended the second game of the series in Norfolk on Thursday night. In fact, only 5,172 spectators showed up at Harbor Park to watch the two playoff games there.
The Hens had their 30th sellout of the season last night with 8,962 fans attending Game 3.
All three playoff games in the history of Fifth Third Field have been sold out. Both postseason games in 2002, which was the last time the Hens played in the postseason, were played before capacity crowds of 10,300.
TOLEDO TIDBITS: Detroit Tigers legend Willie Horton threw out the first pitch before last night s game. Hens starter Kenny Baugh struck out the side in order in the second inning. ... Right fielder Alexis Gomez was doubled up in the fourth inning. Gomez drew a one-out walk and then took off for second on Gookie Dawkins fly to right field. Eric Valent made a running catch near the line and threw to first before Gomez could get back. Catcher Sandy Martinez threw out leadoff hitter Angel Pagan at second in the fifth inning. Pagan had walked and attempted to steal second when Martinez cut him down with a perfect throw. The Tides had four hits but none were singles. Norfolk hit three doubles and a triple The Hens went down in order in the third, fourth and fifth innings. The Mud Hens will start right hander Jason Grilli (12-9, 4.09) against Neal Musser (6-11, 5.02) in tonight s Game 4.