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Published: Sunday, 6/17/2012

Mud Hens fall to Norfolk in extra innings

BLADE STAFF

NORFOLK, Va. -- Nate McLouth raced home on a fielder's choice grounder in the bottom of the 10th, helping Norfolk edge the Toledo Mud Hens 6-5 in front of a season-high crowd of 10,345 at Harbor Park Saturday night.

With the score tied at 5-5, McLouth ignited the deciding rally by working a leadoff walk off of Jose Ortega (3-5). McLouth followed by stealing second base, and he moved to third on a wild pitch during a walk to Jamie Hoffmann. After Miguel Tejada was intentionally walked to load the bases, Darin Downs was summoned from the bullpen to face Joe Mahoney, who hit a slow chopper to the left of second baseman Justin Henry. Henry's throw home could not beat the hustling McLouth, allowing the Tides to walk off with the 6-5 win.

The win was Norfolk's sixth walk-off win of 2012 and made a winner of Miguel Socolovich (2-0), who did not allow a baserunner over 2 1/3 shutout innings of relief. Socolovich has now posted a 0.72 ERA while striking out 15 and walking one over his last five outings.

Socolovich, Steve Johnson, and J.C. Romero combined to strike out six while allowing two hits in 5 shutout innings of relief.

L.J. Hoes led Norfolk's offense, as he finished 3-for-4 with a stolen base and two runs scored. He also belted his first Triple-A home run in the contest, an opposite-field solo shot in the seventh inning that tied the score at 5-5.

Xavier Avery reached base four times in the contest, as he singled twice, walked twice, scored two runs, and stole a base. He also made a leaping grab at the center field wall in the eighth inning to deny Ryan Strieby of an extra-base hit.

Tides starter Zach Britton did not factor in the decision after allowing five runs in five-plus innings.

Britton surrendered three runs on four hits in the second inning alone, but settled down to retire nine of 10 batters from the third through fifth innings.

He left on a sour note, however, as he yielded a homer to Strieby and a double to Ben Guez to open up the sixth before being removed in favor of Johnson.



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