RailRiders strike out 11 Hens to take game two

By Toledo Mud Hens | May 27, 2017 10:24 PM

The RailRiders entered Fifth Third Field and took a second straight game from the Hens Saturday night on Star Wars Night, beating them 5-1. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre has outscored Toledo 9-3 in the first two of a four-game series taking place over Memorial Day Weekend. 

The RailRiders entered Fifth Third Field and took a second straight game from the Hens Saturday night on Star Wars Night, beating them 5-1. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre has outscored Toledo 9-3 in the first two of a four-game series taking place over Memorial Day Weekend.

Lefty Matt Crouse made his season debut for the Hens after being called up from Double-A Erie on Saturday. He struck out four in six innings of three-run ball but was handed the loss due to a lack of run support.

The Hens got off to about as good of a start as you could ask for, beginning with Crouse setting the RailRiders down 1-2-3 in the first. Two batters into the Hens' half of the first, Argenis Diaz took a fastball from SWB starter Caleb Smith off the light pole in left for a solo home run. Diaz's first homer of the season went for naught though, as it would be the lone Toledo run of the game. The Hens were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left nine on base. They recorded more than one hit in just one inning - the ninth -, but by then it was too little, too late.

Smith tallied nine strikeouts against just five hits for the RailRiders. His offense fed off it, beginning with a Gleyber Torres double to bring in Dustin Fowler in the fourth. They were silent in the fifth, but pushed across one each in the sixth and seventh innings. Fowler again started the rally in the sixth by singling to left and then stealing second. He was moved over to third on a groundout by Torres. Tyler Austin - on a rehab assignment from the New York Yankees - singled to center to hand SWB the lead.

Crouse's night came to an end in the sixth when he walked Mason Williams and Donovan Solano to start the frame. Manager Mike Rojas called upon Logan Kensing to keep the game as close as he could. The righty reliever got Cito Culver to pop out on a bunt attempt but then walked Eddy Rodriguez to load the bases with the top of the RailRiders order coming up. Tyler Wade did his job with a sacrifice fly to left that brought in Williams. Kensing gave up an infield single that again loaded the bases, but he struck Torres out to wiggle out of the inning only giving up one run.

Bruce Rondon entered to pitch in the eighth but fell into trouble yet again, issuing a leadoff walk to SWB pinch hitter Ji-Man Choi who then stole second. The hard-throwing righty got two outs and put himself on the brink of getting out of it, but Solano and Culver hit back-to-back doubles that were good for two runs. Rondon struck out Rodriguez - his second punchout of the inning -, but the Hens fell even further behind. After holding a 0.64 earned run average until last week, Rondon's last two starts have yielded six runs on seven hits in just 1.2 innings.

The Hens will try to snap their three-game home losing streak on Sunday when they take on the RailRiders in the third game of the series. 

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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