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Published: Thursday, 4/22/2010

Mud Hens handle visiting Clippers


Daniel Schlereth's father was at last night's 6-4 Mud Hens' win over Columbus at Fifth Third Field.

And that was a big surprise, considering the first round of the NFL draft was last night, and Schlereth's father is Mark Schlereth, the former Denver Broncos lineman who now covers that league for ESPN.

“Don't tell anybody [I'm here],” Mark Schlereth said with a smile.

The elder Schlereth, who plans to spend the weekend watching his son and the rest of the Hens, said he enjoys watching baseball as well.

“I'm a big baseball junkie — I like to get in early, watch some batting practice, watch the ground crew work,” he said. “The grounds here are unbelievable, and the ballpark is absolutely gorgeous.

“I'll analyze some following the draft, but [my bosses at ESPN] know how much it means to me to watch my son.”

Daniel Schlereth didn't pitch in yesterday's game after working a pair of innings Wednesday in Louisville, which may have been best for his father.

“It's absolutely gut-wrenching [to watch Daniel pitch],” Mark Schlereth said. “It doesn't matter what level he's at – from Little League on up – it's been very hard for me [to watch], very nerve-wracking.

“I definitely get way more nervous watching him than I ever did playing.”

Daniel Schlereth has made five appearances for the Hens this season and has allowed just two runs, only one of which was earned, in 8.1 innings for a 1.08 ERA.

But control has been an issue as the 23-year-old left-hander has walked eight, including a pair of intentional walks, to go with eight hits.

“Some times it's hard when you pitch an inning or two, then take a couple of days off,” Mark Schlereth said. “It can be hard to get into a rhythm, but one of the reasons he's down here is because of command.

“He knows it's something he needs to work on.”

Both Schlereths watched the Hens use a pair of clutch two-out, two-run singles to claim the victory in a contest in which 19 runners were left on base by the two teams.

Toledo starter Alfredo Figaro walked the first two batters he faced to begin the game, and both came around to score on RBI hits by Trevor Crowe and Shelley Duncan. Figaro surrendered six hits and four walks in 5.1 innings but stranded six runners to escape further damage.

“That started out pretty ugly,” Hens manager Larry Parrish said. “After [Figaro] put the runners on, he jammed a couple of batters, but they got base hits.

“He wasn't as sharp as he has been, but he made some pitches when he needed to.”

The Mud Hens rallied for four runs in the fourth inning off Columbus starter Yohan Pino, who fanned seven of the first 11 Hens he faced. But in the fourth he walked Brennan Boesch and Jeff Larish, and Boesch scored on a single by Jeff Frazier.

Max Leon was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and Robinzon Diaz hit a slow roller past the pitcher for an out that scored Larish.

Danny Worth then lined a two-out single that plated Frazier and Leon.

“We bunched up our hits in that inning,” Parrish said. “And Danny Worth has been doing a whale of a job for us this year.

“But both clubs had a ton of chances they didn't take advantage of. We were lucky at the end that Boesch came up and did a job for us.”

Columbus got single runs in the seventh and eighth to tie the game before Toledo scored twice in the eighth for the victory. Clippers reliever Jess Todd walked Leon and hit Diaz with a pitch before giving up a one-out walk to Rhymes to load the bases.

Then with two outs Boesch lined a two-run single to center to score Leon and Diaz.

Contact John Wagner at: jwagner@theblade.com or 419-724-6481

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