The Bowling Green Hot Rods entertained the fifth-largest crowd in the history of Bowling Green Ballpark and sent all 6,199 fans home happy with a 4-2 victory on Independence Day over the Dayton Dragons. The Hot Rods improved to 50-34 ahead of the series finale against Dayton, which will have a 6:35 p.m. first pitch on Friday night.
After Hot Rods starter Matthew Liberatore worked a scoreless top of the first, the Hot Rods took an early lead against Dayton starter Connor Curlis. Ford Proctor singled to right, which was followed by a bunt single from Osmy Gregorio. After both runners moved up on a wild pitch, Jonathan Aranda brought in a run on a groundout. With two outs, Gregorio came home on a balk, giving the Hot Rods a 2-0 lead.
Bowling Green added on in the second, as Gregorio drove in Grant Witherspoon with a two-out RBI single. An inning later, Izzy Wilson turned on a pitch from Curlis and launched it off the scoreboard in right field for a solo homer. His second home run of the season extended the lead to 4-0.
The score remained the same until the fifth inning when Dayton mounted a rally against Liberatore. After a walk and single opened the inning, an error loaded the bases with nobody out. Mariel Bautista lined an RBI single, then Jay Schuyler drew a bases-loaded walk two batters later to force in another run to cut the lead to 4-2. Liberatore then gave way to Cristopher Sanchez, who induced two fielder's choices to preserve the two-run advantage.
Sanchez worked scoreless sixth and seventh frames, while Cristofer Ogando came out of the bullpen and allowed just one hit over the final two innings, securing the 4-2 victory to begin a ten-game homestand.
Liberatore went 4.1 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits, while walking two and striking out three in a no-decision. Sanchez (3-1) went 2.2 scoreless innings, allowing one hits while striking out two and earning the win. Ogando threw the final 2. 0 innings, allowing one hit and striking out five, earning his fourth save.
Notes: Gregorio extended his hitting streak to six games…He also collected his 10th multi-hit game and his fourth three-hit game…Proctor has a four-game hit streak… Witherspoon struck out a season-high three times, tying his career high…Liberatore's 4.1 innings is his shortest outing of the season…Wilson's home run was just the eighth against a left-handed pitcher for Bowling Green…Sanchez has thrown 16.0-consecutive scoreless innings, one out shy of the longest scoreless streak by a Hot Rod this year (Caleb Sampen with 16.1 innings)…Ogando set a season-high with five strikeouts…Bowling Green drew 6,199 fans, their fifth-largest crowd in franchise history and their largest since April 26, 2017…Bowling Green has won three-straight years on July 4…The Hot Rods are 27-13 at home…They have also won five-straight home games… The team is 10-6 in two-run games this season… They're 10-11 against left-handed starters in 2019…BG is 8-3 against Dayton this season…The Hot Rods will finish the series tomorrow night against the Dragons, with a 6:35 p.m. first pitch…RHP Shane Baz (3-0, 1.85) will start for Bowling Green, while Dayton counters with RHP Jhon DeJesus (1-7, 4.73)…Tomorrow is $5 Fifth, featuring $5 tickets…Tomorrow is also a Norton Children's Hospital Fireworks Friday…Fans can catch all the action with Shawn Murnin on Willie 107.9 FM, as well as, with their smart phones via the MiLB First Pitch app and TuneIn Radio app.
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