CHARLOTTE — The Mud Hens made a late rally, but fell short in an 8-6 loss to the Charlotte Knights on Monday night.
Trouble surfaced early for Toledo, which lost three of four in the series. Starter Derek Hankins (3-8) allowed five runs on nine hits and lasted only 3 2/3 innings. He struck out five batters but walked three.
Dylan Axelrod (4-6) threw six scoreless innings before Charlotte’s bullpen struggled. He allowed only three hits, struck out five, and walked two.
The Knights got it going early. Matt Davidson began a stretch of four consecutive Charlotte hits with a one-out, solo home run that scored the game’s first run. Andy Wilkins followed with a single before Matt Tuiasosopo’s double and Blake Tekotte’s single pushed the Knights’ lead to 3-0 after two.
The Knights added two more runs in the fourth to make it 5-0. Wilkins began that inning with a solo home run. Tuiasosopo followed with a single, advanced to second and third on back-to-back singles, then scored on a bases-loaded walk drawn by Jordan Danks, who drove in four runs.
The lead grew to 6-0 in the sixth when Danks hit an RBI single.
The Mud Hens’ bats finally came alive in the top of the seventh inning, when James McCann led off the inning with a fielder’s choice, advanced to third on Trevor Crowe’s single, then scored on Wayne Gaynor’s double.
Jordan Lennerton promptly followed that with a three-run home run, and suddenly the Mud Hens cut the deficit to 6-4.
It was 8-4 in the ninth when Hernan Perez and Tyler Collins hit RBI singles to make it a two-run game, but Mike Hessman struck out with the bases loaded to end the game.