By Josh Cook
A five-run seventh inning and some solid pitching helped the Louisville Bats maintain their lead in the International League West.
The Bats beat visiting Toledo 8-0 Sunday - their 13th shutout of the season - to keep their 1 1/2-game lead over Columbus intact in the IL West. Both Louisville (76-59) and Columbus (75-61) have eight games remaining in the regular season.
The Bats rang up 13 hits, including three home runs, against a trio of Toledo pitchers. Meanwhile five Louisville hurlers combined to give up only six Mud Hens' hits as it evened its home record against Toledo this season to 5-5.
Dave Sappelt got the Bats off to a good start. He led off the bottom of the first with a double off Toledo starter Andrew Oliver. Sappelt advanced to third on a passed ball by Mud Hens catcher Robinson Diaz, then scored on Zack Cozart's sacrifice fly.
Louisville made it 2-0 in the fourth on Devin Mesoraco's two-out solo home run to left field.
Then came the seventh. Danny Dorn greeted new pitcher Ramon Garcia, who came on after Oliver (2-4) gave up one earned run and five hits while walking three and striking out five, with his 11th homer of the season. Eric Eymann and Michael Griffin followed with back-to-back singles and advanced to third and second, respectively, after a throwing error on Toledo third baseman Shawn Roof.
After Sappelt grounded out, Scot Drucker replaced Ramon Garcia and promptly gave up a two-run single to Cozart. Yonder Alonso followed with a two-run homer to left field to make it 7-0.
The Bats added another run in the eighth when Dorn doubled, then scored on Sappelt's two-out RBI-single.
That was more than enough for Louisville's quintet of pitchers. Micah Owings started, allowing two hits and striking out a pair over three innings. Jeremy Horst (1-0) followed with 2 2/3 innings of one-hit relief, while he walked one and struck out four, to earn his first Triple-A win. Reliever Jordan Smith, Carlos Fisher and Philippe Valiquette combined to limit the Mud Hens to three hits over the final 3 1/3 innings.
Sappelt led Louisville's 13-hit attack, going 3-for-5. Frazier, Dorn and Eymann added two apiece.
The same two teams meet at 7:05 p.m. Monday in the last game of the split five-game series at Slugger Field. Louisville right-hander Matt Klinker (4-2, 5.91) is scheduled to take on Toledo righty L.J. Gagnier (5-7, 3.75).
It is AAA Discount Night for Kentuckians. AAA Kentucky members can receive $2 off a field reserved ticket when they show their AAA membership cards at the ticket window. Meijer customers can also receive a $2 discount on a field reserved ticket when showing their register receipts at the ticket window.