LOUISVILLE, Ky.-The Louisville Bats (33-51) dropped the series opener with the Toledo Mud Hens (39-43) by a score of 10-8 Tuesday on the Fourth of July at Louisville Slugger Field.
Bat's starting pitcher left-hander Amir Garrett allowed two runs to score in the first despite striking out three Mud Hens in the frame. A single and a walk to begin the inning allowed Toledo to take the lead on a single to right field. The second run came around on a double steal after the throw went to second base.
Three-consecutive singles to lead off the bottom of the second allowed Louisville to begin chipping away at the deficit early. With runners on first and second, Phillip Ervin's liner to left scored Brandon Dixon for the team's first run of the game. A Zach Vincej single to left field allowed Darnell Sweeney and Ervin to cross home plate giving Louisville a 3-2 advantage after two innings.
Each team plated a run in their offensive half of the third inning. Toledo evened the game at three runs apiece in the top of the third, while the Bats regained the lead in the bottom half. A throwing error put Brandon Dixon on the base paths with two down, and Sweeney kept the inning alive with a two-out single. Ervin picked up his second RBI of the contest with a double to center that plated Dixon, giving Louisville the 4-3 lead after three innings of play
Surrendering the lead again in the fifth inning, Garrett gave up a home run ball to the left field bleachers that brought to Mud Hens home, giving Toledo a 5-4 lead. Not to be outdone, Louisville also put up two runs in the frame off of Ervin's second double of the contest and his third and fourth RBI's of the ballgame.
After surrendering the lead, Toledo's second deep ball of the evening put two runs on the board for the third straight half inning. The blast gave the Mud Hens a one run lead, while an additional solo shot in the top of the seventh added to their advantage. The lead was pushed to three runs later in the seventh after a wild pitch brought in the ninth Toledo game of the contest.
Ervin picked up his fifth RBI of the game on a throwing error that allowed the Bats' left fielder to reach. The five RBIs are the most for a Louisville player in 2017 with the last player to accomplish the feat being Kyle Waldrop on July 4 of 2016. The run also cut the Mud Hens lead to a pair, 9-7.
Chipping away at the lead, Louisville added a run in the eight on a Dilson Herrera single that plated Adrien Nieto from second base. The Bats left the bases loaded in the inning to trail by a single run, 9-8, with one to play.
An insurance run in the top of the ninth increased the Mud Hen's lead back to a pair of runs, which proved to be the winning margin with the Bats failing to score in the ninth. Garrett dropped to 1-1 on the season after pitching 5.2 innings allowing seven runs on 11 hits. The Louisville starter also struck out seven batters.
Louisville will look to avoid the series loss in game two Wednesday evening. Left-hander Cody Reed (2-4, 2.65 ERA) gets the start for the Bats opposite lefty Anthony Vasquez (3-5, 5.02 ERA) who will take the mound for the Mud Hens. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.