--By Mike Gilpatrick
--Photos by Jared Anderson
Louisville had a chance to win against No. 1, but weren't able to follow through.
The Louisville Bats opened their final series of the first half with a loss to the Toledo Mud Hens, the top team on the International League West. An early homer, and phenomenal pitching performance gave Louisville an early lead, but a late power show propelled Toledo to a _-_ win.
The home run that gave Louisville the lead came in the third inning. Two-hitter Phillip Ervin hit the first pitch of the at-bat 366 feet to left. He drove in Josh VanMeter as well.
Ervin’s homer would be the sole score until the top of the seventh.
Meanwhile, Justin Nicolino had a short, but great outing. He was efficient with his pitches, throwing 53 over five innings. 43 strikes. The southpaw gave up just two hits. He also struck out two. He was relieved by Cody Reed in the sixth.
The reason was to get Reed more reps before the all-star break. The lefty had not toed the mound since June 27th.
Toledo’s starter didn’t last longer. AJ Ladwig pitched five; and gave up five hits and one walk. Two runs scored against him; both earned. Both runs were on the Ervin homer.
Jason Krizan tied the game in the seventh. He belted a home run to right to score two runs. Then, Grayson Greiner hit a solo shot the next at bat.
A case could be made for rust afflicting Reed. June 27th is a long time to sit. The second home run was also assisted by the wind. Nevertheless, Reed received the loss. Warwick Saupold received the win.
Louisville moves to 34-49. They’ll play as the Louisville Mashers tomorrow at 6:30 pm. RHP Jose Lopez (3-7, 4.98) takes on RHP Jacob Turner (1-2, 4.43). Turner was a former Tigers top-10 prospect.