(bisons.com)-It wasn't the trendiest walk-off play, but the Bisons and catcher AJ Jimenez will take it.
Jimenez raced to the plate on contact, avoiding the tag by the Toledo catcher to score the game-winning run and clinch a Bisons 5-4 victory over the Mud Hens in 10 innings, at Coca-Cola Field on Friday night.
"It's about time we had one of those," Bisons' manager Gary Allenson said. "That was an unbelievable jump. We were going on contact right there, but he still had movement there. He was on his way as soon as the ball hit the bat."
Bisons left-hander Sean Nolin came off the DL on Friday, after missing 20 games with a groin injury. Nolin started his eighth game of the season and was on a 50-pitch limit, according to Bisons' manager Gary Allenson. The southpaw went three ⅓ inning, allowing one run on two hits. His only blemish was a solo homer by Ben Guez in the the top-half of the first.
"I thought he did a pretty good job," Bisons' manager Gary Allenson said. "He was a little rusty, but he used all of his pitches, which is what I liked to see right there. He kept his composure. The solo homer to left, he just missed his location on his changeup. He threw some other good ones [and] had some good curveballs. I liked what I saw."
Nolin walked Toledo's Mike Hessman with one out in the fourth, to force Allenson to make a call to the bullpen and bring in Rowland-Smith. After Hessman was called out trying to score from third base, Tyler Collins clubbed a towering, three-run homer to right-center field to give the Mud Hens a 4-2 lead.
The Bisons responded with two runs in the fifth. Catcher AJ Jimenez sent a two-run double to left to knot the game at 4-4. The game would stay a stalemate until Jimenez scored the game-winner.
After Rowland-Smith surrendered the three-run dinger in the fourth, the Bisons' bullpen pitched five scoreless innings. Mike Zagurski and Rob Rasmussen each worked two innings apiece and Raul Valdes worked the tenth inning. Valdes got into some trouble in the tenth -- walking Jordan Lennerton and yielding a single to Brandon Douglas with one out. Valdes worked out of it -- striking out the next two batters to end the threat.
"[We] had the momentum, lost the momentum and got it right back," Allenson said. "The bullpen did a great job keeping it right there. Valdes worked out of a jam in the tenth inning there with the heart of their lineup. Everyone contributed."
Hessman's chase for Bisons' Hall of Famer Ollie Carnegie's International League home run record will have to wait, well, at least another night. Hessman, who is tied with Carnegie with 258 home runs, went 0-for-3 with a walk on Friday night, to finish 0-for-6 in the series. Hessman had the opportunity to break the 69-year record against the team that Carnegie spent 12 years with. Hessman was not in the lineup in the first two games of the four-game set against the Herd, while recovering for a procedure on his face.
The Bisons (29-29) will take on Syracuse on Saturday, for the start of two-game series. The Herd will put Kyle Drabek (4-5 4.37 ERA) on the hill and Syracuse will send out Aaron Laffey (6-3 3.72 ERA).