(Lakewood, NJ) - Tim Beckham picked up an RBI for the third straight game but it wasn't enough as the Hot Rods (11-6, 45-42) dropped their first game to the Lakewood BlueClaws 9-4 on Monday night in New Jersey. The loss snapped the Hot Rods two-game winning streak and leaves them in second place in the Southern Division, one game behind Asheville.
Beckham's run-scoring single came in the top of the fifth inning as the Hot Rods were battling back from a 1-0 hole. The Hot Rods led off the inning with consecutive singles from Justin Reynolds and Jason Tweedy. A passed ball from pitcher Jesus Sanchez (W; 5-5) moved each runner up 90 feet before Reynolds scored on a groundout by Robi Estrada. Two batters later, with Tweedy at third, Beckham singled through the hole at shortstop to give the Hot Rods a 2-1 lead.
Lakewood rallied to take the lead back against Hot Rods righty Nick Barnese (L; 4-2) in the bottom half of the inning. With runners at second and third Troy Hanzawa picked up an infield single to second base to score one run before D'Arby Myers drove in a run of his own with a groundout up the first base line. For the inning Lakewood tallied two runs on 3 hits and a groundout, but had just one ball leave the infield in the frame.
They would break the game open in the last of the sixth inning, scoring five runs against Barnese. With the bases loaded Travis Mattair lifted a sac fly to center field. Another run scored on a fielding error by Tim Beckham before a second double from Hanzawa made it 6-2 Lakewood. After Barnese was lifted Chris Andujar came on to load the bases before another error scored the final two runs of the frame to make it 8-2. Lakewood finished the frame with five runs on two hits, two hit batters, two errors, and a walk.
Barnese's final line read 5.1 innings, setting career-highs with eight runs on eight hits. He also tied a career-high by allowing five earned runs during his stint. The loss is his second in a Hot Rods uniform, snapping a personal-best four-game winning streak.
Besides Beckham's contribution, Anthony Scelfo picked up two more RBI in the top of the ninth inning. Reynolds and Tweedy each picked up two hits, including a double, and a walk. On the mound, Michael Jarman threw a scoreless inning in his first relief appearance since June 16.
The series continues on Tuesday night at FirstEnergy Park as the Hot Rods send left-hander Matt Moore (5-3, 2.70) against Lakewood righty Heitor Correa (6-2, 3.97). First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 PM CDT. You can follow the game on the radio with Tom Gauthier at 1340 WBGN and www.bghotrods.com. Pre-game coverage begins at 5:50 PM CDT.
The Hot Rods return home to begin an eight-game home stand against the Northern Division on Wednesday, July 22. The Hagerstown Suns will be in Bowling Green to open the home stand with Hannah Montana/High School Musical Night and Feeding American Food Bank Night. First pitch is at 7:05 PM. For tickets, visit www.bghotrods.com or head to the Hot Rods ticket office at the corner of 8th Avenue and Center Street at Bowling Green Ballpark.