(Bowling Green, KY) - A Standing-Room Only crowd of 4,765 came out to Bowling Green Ballpark on Friday night, with their sights set on in-game fireworks from their Hot Rods and then post-game fireworks after the game. Most of those fans left disappointed as only one set of fireworks met their expectations as the Hot Rods lost to Hagerstown 8-0. The loss leaves the Hot Rods at 16-11, but still in a tie for first place in the Southern Division. Bowling Green needs a win in the series finale to split the series with the Suns on Saturday night.
The Suns opened the scoring for the third straight game, getting a solo run in the top of the first inning. With one down, Steve Lombardozzi hit a ball back to the mound that starting pitcher Nick Barnese got a glove on, but couldn't handle cleanly for an infield single. He came around to score a few pitches later when Derek Norris, the league leader in RBI, picked up his 70th of the season with a double to straight away center to give the Suns the 1-0 lead.
After a scoreless second, Norris would strike again in the third. On a 1-2 pitch he took a Barnese fastball and deposited it onto Kentucky Street beyond the left field wall for his league-best 22nd home run. An inning later Charlie Fermaint singled, went to second on a error, took third on a double play, and then scored on a wild pitch to make it 3-0.
In the fifth the Suns took control thanks to three Hot Rods errors. With runners at second and third, Hagerstown made the Hot Rods pay for their mistakes with a two-run single by Steven Souza. An inning later, against Jamie Bagley, the Suns added three runs on a two-run triple by Valerio Heredia followed by a run-scoring single from Lombardozzi.
Barnese took the loss, his third straight, falling to 4-4 on the season. He went 4.1 innings, allowing five runs (three earned) on five hits. He struck out six, walked one, hit one batter, and gave up his third homer of the season.
For Hagerstown, Brad Peacock (5-8) earned the win, his third in as many outings. The right-hander threw six shutout frames, allowing just four hits. He struck out two and walked two before retiring the final six batters he faced. He turned it over to the bullpen for the final three innings, which combined for three perfect frames. As a staff, the Suns set down the final 15 Hot Rods batters after a lead-off double in the fifth by Jason Tweedy. Hagerstown pitching allowed just two base runners (a walk and double from Peacock) through the final seven innings.
Offensively for the Hot Rods, Jason Corder and Jason Tweedy each picked up doubles before being stranded at third base. Tim Beckham was named Koch Air Hottest Hitter going 1-3 with a walk to extend his hitting streak to three games. Anthony Scelfo added a first inning single to push his streak to seven games.
The series comes to an end on Saturday night at Bowling Green Ballpark with H&R Agri-Power Agriculture Night. LHP Matt Moore (6-3, 2.77) goes for Bowling Green against Hagerstown's RHP Trevor Holder (1-0, 4.70). First pitch is at 7:05 PM. Gates open at 5:30 PM for season ticket holders and 6 PM for the general public.
As part of Agriculture night, fans will be able to visit a petting zoo at Bowling Green Ballpark, among other activities. 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. You can also follow the game on the radio with Tom Gauthier at 1340 WBGN and www.bghotrods.com. Pre-game coverage begins at 6:50 PM CDT.