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Published: Saturday, 6/30/2007

Hens let down lucky charm

The Mud Hens' Mike Hessman is not happy about striking out in the ninth inning against the Lynx, who matched Toledo's four hits, but they were all for extra bases. The Mud Hens' Mike Hessman is not happy about striking out in the ninth inning against the Lynx, who matched Toledo's four hits, but they were all for extra bases.

Sending starting pitcher Virgil Vasquez to the mound has been a good-luck charm for the Mud Hens this season.

Prior to last night Toledo was 12-3 in games the right-hander has started this year. What's more, Vasquez carried a personal seven-game win streak into last night's contest against Ottawa, having not lost for the Hens since April 11.

But all that went out the window when the Lynx claimed a 2-1 win over Toledo at Fifth Third Field.

"You can't really think about stuff like that," Vasquez said. "You go out and do what you can do, and try to keep the team in a position to win."

Vasquez did plenty to give the Hens a chance to win. He allowed just three hits and no walks in eight strong innings, striking out three along the way. But the Mud Hen bats, which had produced 42 runs in the first seven games of this homestand, managed just four hits and a lone ninth-inning run last night.

Ottawa scored its first run in the fourth when, with one out, Brennan King drove a 1-0 pitch high off the scoreboard behind the left-field fence for his seventh home run of the season.

"It was a change-up that was up, and he took advantage of it," Vasquez said. "On his other at-bats I stayed with fastballs. He's been a Mud Hen-killer, I guess."

Outside of the home run by King, who went 5-for-14 in the series with five RBI, Vasquez allowed just one other hit until the eighth.

The Lynx tacked on another run in the eighth when former Hen Pedro Swann touched Vasquez for a triple off the wall in right-center, and one out later Danny Sandoval lofted a sacrifice fly.

Otherwise, Ottawa managed just two other baserunners off Vasquez thanks to a hit batsman and an error.

"I just kept coming after them, throwing strikes and keeping the ball down," said Vasquez, who threw six innings of two-hit, shutout ball at Ottawa June 19.

The Hens eventually won that game 2-1 in 12 innings, but they would not be that fortunate this night as Lynx starter Landon Jacobsen and two relievers allowed Toledo just four hits.

"Jacobsen pitched well, and we just didn't get that big hit," Mud Hens interim manager Mike Rojas said. "His slider, curveball and change-up all were mixed pretty well."

The Mud Hens had at least one runner on base in every inning except the first and sixth - thanks in large part to three walks by the right-hander - but never got a runner past first.

The closest Toledo came to scoring off Jacobsen was in the second, when Chris Shelton drew a one-out walk and, after a fielder's choice, Jack Hannahan drove a long fly to left with the runner moving on a 3-2 pitch. But Joe Thurston made a leaping catch just short of the fence.

Ryan Cameron threw one scoreless inning, but the Hens scored their lone run in the ninth off Jason Anderson. Kevin Hooper led off with a walk, then came around to score on a two-out double by Shelton.

But Anderson struck out Hessman to earn his first save.

Toledo still has won six of its last eight and is 19-9 in June.

Contact John Wagner at:


or 419-724-6481.

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