(Savannah, GA) - For the third straight game, heavy rains impacted the Hot Rods in their series with the Savannah Sand Gnats. However, unlike the first two nights of the series, the Hot Rods were rendered helpless as mid-game rain forced the early completion of Sunday's affair with Savannah, resulting in a 3-1 loss. The five-inning defeat marks the first time the Hot Rods have had a game shortened by rain this season. It also snaps Bowling Green's three-game winning streak, leaving them two games behind Asheville in the South Atlantic League Southern Division standings.
The Hot Rods (20-15, 54-51) did have their chances in the 3-1 loss, starting with a three-hit second inning where they left runners at first and second. In the top of the fifth, Justin Reynolds and Jason Tweedy delivered consecutive singles for advancing an additional 90 feet on a sacrifice bunt from Robi Estrada. But, Savannah starter Robert Carson buckled down by striking out Anthony Scelfo for the second out before walking the bases loaded for Jake Jefferies. Carson was able to retire Jefferies on one pitch, inducing a lazy fly ball to end the Hot Rods rally.
Savannah (19-17, 54-52) took the lead on three consecutive base hits against Hot Rods hurler Joe Cruz (L, 4-6) in the last of the third. First baseman Jose Jimenez and Luis Alen, a combined 9-85 (.106) entering the game, stroked a single and double respectively begin the frame. They both came around to score when Cruz surrendered a double to lead-off hitter Raul Reyes into the right field corner to make it 2-0. Cruz retired the next two batters and was nearly out of the inning when Jordan Abruzzo hit a soft line drive to first that was dropped by John Mollicone, allowing Reyes to score the third from run second base.
Cruz ultimately went 4.2 innings before leaving in the fifth after his lone walk of the game. Cruz allowed three runs, two earned, on four hits. He struck out four and walked one, giving him 80 K's against just 19 walks in 2009. Jamie Bagley relieved Cruz in the fifth retiring the only batter he faced before the rains came.
Bowling Green got its only run in the top of the fourth inning when Jefferies reached on a bloop double to left field, his 13th of the season. He went to third on a fly ball to left and then scored on a groundout from John Mollicone, the Rhode Island native's career-best 22nd RBI of the season.
The Hot Rods have still taken two of three against the Gnats and will for the series victory on Monday ngiht. LHP Frank De Los Santos (4-6, 3.58) gets the start for Bowling Green against Savannah RHP Kyle Allen (7-6, 3.98). It will be De Los Santos third start against the Gnats, as the lefty has complied a 1-1 record and 2.25 ERA in two previous outings against Savannah. First pitch is at 6:00 PM CDT. You can follow the action with Tom Gauthier on 1340 WBGN and www.bghotrods.com beginning at 5:45 PM CDT.
The Hot Rods return home to begin an eight-game home stand on Saturday, August 8 at 7:05 PM. The first 1,000 fans into that night's game against Greenville (Boston Red Sox) will received a replica of Bowling Green Ballpark courtesy of BB&T. 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.