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Published: Wednesday, 5/5/2010

Mud Hens take 2 from Charlotte

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

For a moment, all of Phil Dumatrait's hard worked last night seemed to be wasted.

The Mud Hens lefty had limited Charlotte to just four hits before leaving in the seventh and final inning of the second game at Fifth Third Field. Toledo led 3-0, and closer Jay Sborz was trying to strand a pair of runners on base.

On a 2-2 pitch, the Knights' Luis Rodriguez slammed a long fly down the right-field line. The ball eventually hooked foul before striking the facing of the Roost and became just a long strike, causing an audible sigh of relief around the stadium.

What did Dumatrait think?

"When it came off his bat, I saw it was headed towards the foul pole, so I thought it would hook foul," Dumatrait said. "I thought it was just a long strike.

"Yeah, I was a little bit nervous, but Jay has been doing a great job, and I knew he would get the job done again."

Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish wasn't as charitable, since one of the baserunners reached on a popup that dropped between shortstop Brent Dlugach and third baseman Danny Worth - but could have been caught by either one.

"I was going to kill my third baseman and shortstop for letting the ball drop in," Parrish said.

Instead Sborz retired Charlotte with only limited damage, giving the Hens a 3-1 victory. Earlier Toledo had snapped a three-game losing streak by scoring six times in the eighth inning of an 8-3 win in the completion of Monday's suspended game.

Dumatrait was the star of the late contest, holding the Knights hitless until the fifth and not allowing a runner past second base until a one-out double by Donny Lucy in the seventh.

"He was outstanding," Parrish said of Dumatrait. "If we don't drop the popup he could stay out there and get the shutout."

Dumatrait, who finished with two strikeouts and just one walk in his 61/3 innings, said he didn't focus on the potential no-hitter.

"I knew what was going on, but I just tried to stay within myself and continue to do what I was doing earlier in the game," Dumatrait said.

The game was scoreless until the Mud Hens broke through for a pair of runs in the fourth off Knights starter Freddy Dolsi, a former Hen. With runners on second and third and one out, Clete Thomas ground a single through a drawn-in infield to score both runners.

"He hit the homer in the first game that was big, then got a walk to score a run," Parrish said of Thomas.

Toledo added a run in the sixth when Jeff Frazier lined a home run off the left-field scoreboard against Knights reliever Scott Elarton.

In the first game the Mud Hens took advantage of five consecutive walks by the Knights to claim the comeback win.

Carlos Torres had held the Hens in check over five innings, but Dlugach led off the eighth with an infield grounder to shortstop that he beat out for a hit before taking second on a throwing error by Charlotte shortstop Brent Lillibridge.

That proved to be important when, after Casper Wells struck out, the Knights decided to walk Larish to set up a force, putting runners on first and second with one out.

Frazier fell behind Torres 1-2 but worked for an eight-pitch walk that loaded the bases, and Thomas greeted reliever Wes Whisler by drawing a walk that tied the game.

Worth and Deik Scram earned walks that also scored runs, and Angel Flores put the game out of reach with a two-run single.

Contact John Wagner at:

jwagner@theblade.com

or 419-724-6481.



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