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Toledo stifled by YSU, lose 7 of last 8 games

By Joe Mehling
On March 21, 2011

The Rockets dropped three of their four games at the PSC Panther Classic in Pittsburgh this weekend to fall to 5-13 on the year. Toledo closed the tournament with a 7-1 loss to Youngstown St on Sunday.

"Right now we need to make more plays in the clutch," UT head coach Cory Mee said. "I think we are very capable of that and its about really wanting to be the hitter in that spot, wanting to have the ball on the mound and really wanting to be that guy."

Taking the mound for the Penguins was senior Phil Klein (1-3) who struck out a career-high 13 batters in eight innings and allowed just three hits. The right-hander had a no-hitter through 5.1 innings before UT senior outfielder Chris Dudics tripled to center and later scored the only earned run. Heading into the game Klein was winless with an ERA of 9.17.

"He pitched a very good game," Mee said. "You have to give him a lot of credit with the performance he had. He threw strikes and was ahead in the count the whole time. It was game where he had us hitting the pitchers pitch most of the time. We need to do a better job competing against a guy like that because were going to have to beat good pitching."

Sophomore Jared Locke took the loss for Toledo after giving up four runs, three earned, on three hits in 2.2 innings in his second start of the season.

"Jared has outstanding stuff," Mee said. "The one thing I would like to see him do is throw more strikes and challenge the hitters. He has a lot of ability and when he is ahead in the count he's a very difficult guy to hit off of."

The Rockets offense struggled overall but Dudics provided the bright spot in the line-up going 2 for 4, with a single in the eighth to go along with his triple.

"As the leadoff hitter he sets the tone for our offense," Mee said. "He is an experienced player and we count on him to set an example for us and jump-start our team. He is a real important part of our team."

Toledo has now lost seven of its last eight games and is 3-9 since taking two of three from No. 20 Louisville in Feb.

"We have played 18 games this season and we have had 14 of those 18 games come down to the wire," Mee said. "We have had a chance to win in all those games, so we are doing some stuff very well. The bottom line is we need to make more plays in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings of the game."

Next up for the Rockets is a trip down I-75 to take on Cincinnati in a one game series on Wednesday at 4 p.m.

"The only way to make ourselves feel better is to get back out there, get on the horse and try to get it right," Mee said. "I think our whole team can't wait untill Wednesday and get down to Cincinnati and try to get back on the right track."

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