Charlotte Knights 11, Toledo Mud Hens 9 (F/10) (box)
The Mud Hens have had a flare for the dramatic lately. After their wild 11-9 win on Easter Sunday, Toledo fell victim to the International League South Division-leading Charlotte Knights by the same score in a seesaw battle on Tuesday. Matt Hall had a 2-0 lead, on solo home runs from Harold Castro and Daz Cameron, and was spinning an eight-strikeout shutout with one out in the fifth. That’s when the ground caved in, as Hall failed to retire another hitter. Six consecutive Knights reached base, resulting in four earned runs and Hall being lifted for Eduardo Jimenez.
The Hens answered in the seventh, when hot-hitting Victor Reyes hit his third home run in the last four games, a two-run shot. Jacob Robson followed with a two-run homer of his own. Reyes has driven in nine runs over that four-game span. Eduardo Paredes took over in the bottom of the seventh and walked four hitters in the inning. Lefty Caleb Thielbar inherited the mess, and he hit the first hitter he faced and gave up a single to center field, plating the fourth Knights run of the inning. Daz Cameron gunned down Charlotte first baseman Matt Skole at the plate to rescue Thielbar and the Hens from further damage.
Trailing by a pair in the eighth, Cameron and Willi Castro led off the inning with base hits. Recently-promoted Josh Lester plated them with a two-run double to tie the game at eight apiece. Lester would be stranded at third, however, and neither team threatened in the ninth. Lester came up big again in the tenth with an RBI single, again plating Cameron to give the Hens a 9-8 lead. Jose Cisnero came on to finish it off, but served up a two-out, two-run, walk-off homer on a 3-2 pitch to Charlotte’s Danny Mendick. The loss drops Toledo to 6-11 on the year, second-worst in the International League ahead of only Buffalo (4-11).
Cameron: 2-5, HR, 3 R, RBI
Lester: 3-4, 2B, 3 RBI, BB
Reyes: 1-4, HR, R, 2 RBI, SO
Hall: 4.1 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, BB, 8 SO
Coming up next: Kyle Funkhouser will square off with the Knights’ Jordan Stephens on Wednesday night.
Bowie Baysox 2, Erie SeaWolves 1 (box)
In Erie, Matt Manning locked into a well-pitched duel with Bowie starter Bruce Zimmerman on Tuesday night. Unfortunately, Bowie’s bullpen spoiled every SeaWolves attempt at a rally and held on for the win. All three of Manning’s pitches were prominently featured on the night. His fastball was sitting 94-96 miles per hour, touching 97 mph, with the hammer curveball always in his back pocket. Most notably, however, was the healthy dose of changeups Manning was throwing confidently, and in any count.
Manning allowed a single earned run when he hit the lead-off batter in the fourth, and then surrendered a pair of singles before putting down the Baysox rally. His night was finished after six innings of work and 98 pitches (65 strikes). Manning allowed just four hits, fanning nine, and walking none.
The SeaWolves evened the score in the sixth when Derek Hill led off with a bunt single and moved to second on a throwing error by Zimmerman. Isaac Paredes singled to move Hill to third, and then Taylor Motter hit a deep sacrifice fly to center for his first RBI in the Tigers organization. Erie also threatened in the seventh, putting the first two hitters on base. But Cam Gibson struck out swinging after failing to get a sacrifice bunt down. Sergio Alcantara hit a rope to the second baseman, who dropped the ball and promptly turned a 4-6-3 double-play to thwart the effort.
Nolan Blackwood relieved Manning and worked a clean seventh, but gave up a one-out, solo home run in the eighth to put Bowie back on top. Derek Hill led off the bottom of the eighth with a double down the line, and the Wolves had runners at the corners with one out. Once again, a scoring opportunity was squandered as Motter bounced into a double play. Jose Azocar later bounced into another 6-4-3 twin-killing to end the game, and the SeaWolves fell to 8-7 on the year.
Hill: 2-4, 2B, R
Manning: 6.0 IP, 4 H, ER, 9 SO
Coming up next: Bowie and the SeaWolves meet up again on Wednesday at 12:05 p.m. ET. Alex Faedo (0-1, 5.06 ERA) will try to rebound from a rough last outing in Wednesday’s noon series finale.
Lakeland Flying Tigers 4, St. Lucie Mets 1 (box)
The Casey Mize Show was in full force at Joker Marchant Stadium for a Tuesday morning Education Day affair. Mize faced just one over the minimum in eight innings of scoreless work, the lone baserunner having reached on a one-out bunt single in the second. Lakeland got a two-run home run from Brady Policelli in the home half of the first, and that would be all the run production Mize needed. Luke Burch and Chad Sedio added RBI singles later in the game, but the story of the day was Mize.
The first overall pick now sports a microscopic 0.35 ERA over 26 innings in four Florida State League starts, leaving many wondering when his inevitable trip to Double-A Erie will happen. Mize only struck out four, but made easy work of the Mets anyway. Wladimir Pinto, who had a rough go of things last season at this level, surrendered a run in the ninth, but also struck out three to earn his second save. Kody Clemens and Rey Rivera continue to struggle in April, both going 0-for-4. Clemens’ batting average now sits at .153 while Rivera is at .093.
Policelli: 2-4, HR, R, 2 RBI
Burch: 2-2, 2 R, RBI, 2 BB
Mize (W, 2-0): 8.0 IP, H, 0 ER, 4 SO
Coming up next: With the win on Tuesday, Lakeland improved to 8-9 and will send Elvin Rodriguez (1-1, 3.14 ERA) to the bump on Wednesday.
West Michigan Whitecaps 4, Great Lakes Loons 3 (box)
The Whitecaps had 11 hits (all singles) to put together a pair of two-run innings, and that was enough to hold off the Loons. After a shaky couple starts to begin the season, Gio Arriera turned in a solid performance, working 5 1⁄3 innings, allowing two runs on four hits, with four strikeouts and two walks.
West Michigan started the scoring off in the top of the third when Parker Meadows dropped down a bunt, with Reece Hampton on first base. Loons pitcher Josiah Gray threw the ball away and Hampton came all the way around to score. A groundout and a walk later, Sam McMillan drove in Meadows with a single to right field. The Loons got to Arriera in the fifth on mostly soft contact, although he didn’t help himself out by walking the leadoff hitter. That said, Arriera limited the damage and worked out of the inning, allowing just a pair of runs.
The ‘Caps immediately answered in the visitor’s half of the sixth, as McMillan walked and then stole second. Jose King had a two-out RBI single and then stole second as well. Hampton smoked a line drive to left and King came around to score what turned out to be the game-winner. Angel De Jesus found himself in some trouble in the eighth, and West Michigan’s lead was cut to 4-3, but the Loons stranded a pair. Jose Vasquez, a former starter, fanned two in the ninth to earn his first professional save since he was a 19-year old in the Venezuelan Summer League back in 2015.
Meadows was 2-for-5 and has now hit safely in nine of his last 11 since his 1-for-16 start to the season.
Hampton: 2-3, R, RBI, BB, SO
King: 2-4, R, RBI, 2 SO, SB
Coming up next: Kacey Murphy (0-0, 3.68 ERA) will make his third start of the season on Wednesday afternoon for the 8-9 Whitecaps in the 2:05 p.m. ET series finale.