Lansing, MI - To finish off their regular season slate on the road, the Bowling Green Hot Rods avoided a sweep and clinched a Midwest League second half division title with a 6-2 win against the Lansing Lugnuts on Friday night at Cooley Law School Stadium.
En route to their third division title in franchise history, the Hot Rods were led by a five-run third inning against Lansing starter Josh DeGraaf (L, 5-7). Fueling the surge was a two-run double by shortstop Peter Maris and a trio of RBI singles by outfielder Landon Cray, catcher Brett Sullivan and third basemen Kevin Padlo.
Fortunately for the Hot Rods, the run support was plenty for a pitching staff led by starter Mike Velasquez (W, 8-9). The southpaw gave up just one run in six innings while striking out seven batters en route to the win.
To build on the performance of Velasquez, righty Armando Bastardo tossed two scoreless frames and Reece Karalus gave up one run in his return to the Hot Rods active roster.
Offensively, the Hot Rods were paced by two hits apiece from Padlo and Sullivan. They also got a RBI single by outfielder Manny Sanchez.
With the win combined with the South Bend Cubs loss, the Hot Rods clinched the Eastern Division title in the second half. It is the first division title for Bowling Green since the second half of 2013 and their third division title in franchise history.
Bowling Green also set a record for most runs scored in a season, with their six runs giving them a total of 685 runs scored. The previous record was 681 runs set in 2012.
They also finished off their 2016 regular season road slate with a franchise-record 42 wins and tied their franchise-record with 44 second half wins.
Lastly, the Hot Rods held the Lugnuts to three runs or fewer in the sixteenth straight game between the two teams during their season series this year.
With three games left, the Hot Rods one wins away from tying their franchise-record for most wins in a season (82) set in 2013.
Bowling Green will finish off their regular season with a final series against the Fort Wayne TinCaps starting on Saturday. The Hot Rods will send RHP Blake Bivens to the mound.
First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.
You can also listen in to Play-by-Play Broadcaster Alex Cohen for all the games on www.bghotrods.com via the MLB TuneIn Radio Application or on 1340 The Ticket in Southcentral Kentucky.
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