BUFFALO, NY (Bisons.com) - Mike Hessman already has one International League MVP award to his credit. The veteran might just be 36 games into a repeat performance with the Herd.
The slugger was the star at the plate and in the field as the Bisons collected a 4-0 victory over the Norfolk Tides on Sunday afternoon from Coca-Cola Field. With help from Pat Misch's complete-game shutout, the Herd won their fourth consecutive game.
Misch was masterful, but the story of the Bisons continues to be the success of Hessman. The 32-year old is the top run producer in all of baseball and added to his impressive totals again on Sunday.
Hessman collected his 40th RBI with a two-out single in the first inning to score Jesus Feliciano from second. Two innings later, the minor leagues' active leader in home runs blasted one through the teeth of a strong Lake Erie breeze to dead centerfield. His league-leading 12th home run of the season gave the Herd a 3-0 advantage.
In the sixth inning, the veteran showed he's not all bat. The third baseman made a diving stop to start a 5-4-3 doubleplay. Hessman had six assists on the afternoon.
Hessman's numbers to start the season are very much at the MVP level. He leads the IL with 12 home runs, 41RBI, 25 extra-base hits, 90 total bases and a .687 slugging percentage. Even with all those power numbers, the slugger has maintained a fantastic .313 batting average.
Hessman was IL MVP in 2007 while with Toledo. In that season, he hit .254 with a league-high 34 home runs and 101RBI.
Buffalo scored a solo run in each of the first three innings, giving Misch more than enough support. The southpaw retired the first eight batters he faced and the final 10 after Hessman's doubleplay. Only one Tides player reached second base as Misch needed just 91 pitches to go the distance.
Misch struck out six and allowed just four singles. He induced 16 groundball outs and didn't walk a batter. He is now a perfect 3-0 with three or fewer earned runs allowed in six of his seven starts.
The Bisons fourth run of the game came in the sixth inning on Andy Green's first home run of the season.
BISONS NOTES:Jesus Feliciano singled and scored in the first tinning. His league-leading batting average now stands at .356...The Bisons have seven home runs in the last three games...Pat Misch's performance lowered his season ERA from 4.15 to 3.30...In J.R. House's first two starts as Bisons catchers, the Herd have yielded no earned runs.