(Lakewood, NJ) - Mike Sheridan broke a 3-3 tie in the top of the fifth inning with a long home run to right field, propelling the Hot Rods to a 7-4 win over the Lakewood BlueClaws (10-9, 52-35) on Tuesday night. Sheridan's 11th long ball put the Hot Rods (12-6, 46-42) back on top for good, ensuring that Matt Moore would win his sixth game of the season. The two teams have now split the first two games of the series heading into the morning game on Wednesday.
The winning rally for the Hot Rods came against starting pitcher Heitor Correa (6-3) in the top of the fifth. Isaias Velasquez laid down a perfect bunt on the third base side of the field to lead off the inning. A few pitches later Sheridan drove one over the grass berm beyond the right field fence for his team-leading 11th home run, giving him 35 RBI on the play while giving the Hot Rods a 5-3 lead.
Bowling Green wasn't done scoring after the home run, however. With two outs, newcomer Tyler Hauschild, catching in his Hot Rods debut, doubled to left field before advancing to third on a wild pitch. Jeremy Beckham drew a walk before Anthony Scelfo lined a single to right field to score Hauschild for a 6-3 lead.
For Moore, the insurance runs were all he needed. He made it through the fifth inning, striking out the first two batters of the frame before getting Travis D'Arnaud to fly to right field for the final out he recorded. Moore went five innings, allowing three runs on a career-high six hits. He added another eight strikeouts to bump his total to 116, good for third place in the SAL. He also walked just one, the only walk he's issued in his last 11 innings.
While Moore (6-3) earned the win, he wasn't perfect on the night, allowing three two out runs in the third. After retiring the first two batters of the inning, Moore surrendered four consecutive hits, giving up singles by Harold Garcia and Anthony Gose followed by a two-run double from D'Arnaud and an RBI double from Jim Murphy. The four base hits erased a 3-0 Hot Rods lead.
Bowling Green had built that early lead with two runs in the first inning, coming on a bases-loaded double by the fourth batter of the game, Velasquez, to make it 2-0. They added another run two innings later on a second double from Velasquez, scoring Tim Beckham who had reached on his team-leading 21st two-bagger.
Velasquez finished the night 3-4, reaching base four times while driving in three runs. Sheridan finished with three RBI as well, picking up a sacrifice fly in the seventh after a triple by Jason Tweedy.
The Hot Rods bullpen closed the door on the BlueClaws with left-handers Neil Schenk (one run) and Josh Satow (10th save) splitting the final four innings to preserve the win.
The series continues with a short turnaround for both teams on Wednesday morning at FirstEnergy Park. RHP Shane Dyer (1-7, 5.25) goes for his second win against Lakewood righty Trevor May (1-1, 3.28). First pitch is scheduled for 10:05 AM CDT. You can follow the game on the radio with Tom Gauthier at 1340 WBGN and www.bghotrods.com. Pre-game coverage begins at 9:50 AM 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.