Ben Guez accounted for five runs and starting pitcher Adam Wilk allowed just three hits over his eight innings of work as the Mud Hens beat Louisville 6-4 Wednesday night in front of an announced sellout crowd of 9,749 at Fifth Third Field.
Guez came to the plate with the bases loaded twice in the first three innings, and delivered both times, driving in a pair of runs on each occasion. He later singled, stole a base and scored another run as the Mud Hens built a six-run lead through seven innings.
Hens manager Phil Nevin said he was not surprised by the performance of Guez, who Nevin said has been swinging the bat well recently.
"He's always aggressive at the plate," Nevin said.
The Hens jumped on Louisville starter Tom Cochrane in the bottom of the first inning, loading the bases on a pair of walks and a base hit. Guez singled sharply to left with two outs, scoring Will Rhymes and Ryan Strieby for a 2-0 lead.
In the third, Danny Worth doubled down the right field line, Strieby and Brandon Inge both walked to load the bases again, and Guez ripped a shot down the line in left for a double, scoring Worth and Strieby for a 4-0 Toledo advantage.
Meanwhile, Wilk was mowing down the Bats, putting Louisville down in order in three of the first four innings, while also striking out the side in the third. Wilk was especially crisp with his control Wednesday night, fanning nine while walking just one.
Nevin said Wilk located his pitches well and had the Bats guessing by mixing things up, which allowed Wilk to keep the Louisville hitters off balance.
"He seems to get better and better every time he goes out there," Nevin said.
The Hens gave Wilk some more breathing room with another run in the sixth as Guez singled, stole second, and advanced to third as the throw went into center field, and then came home on a sacrifice fly to right by Argenis Diaz. That pushed the Hens' lead to 5-0.
In the seventh, Worth tripled to the gap in right-center and then scored on a double by Timo Perez to give Wilk a 6-0 advantage.
Wilk said he felt he had been very efficient with pitch count, and worked ahead of the hitters all night.
"I got a lot of strike ones," Wilk said.
Wilk lost the shutout in the eighth when Louisville shortstop Kristopher Negron hit a drive off the fence in center and raced around to score as the ball caromed off the wall. That inside-the-park home run made it a 6-1 game, and the Hens' bullpen allowed a couple more home runs in the ninth to let things get interesting.
NOTES: The Hens ended their streak of wearing their blue jerseys and instead played in their home whites. ... Brandon Inge went 0-for-2 with two walks. With Inge's walk in the first, he has reached base in every game he has played in since rejoining the Hens. His streak is now up to 14 games. ... The last Hens' opponent to hit an inside-the-park home run was Nick Weglarz of the Columbus Clippers. He accomplished this feat on July 5, 2010.
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