The Bowling Green Hot Rods broke a 2-2 tie in the seventh inning and got a season-high 17 strikeouts from three pitchers to even the series against the Clinton LumberKings with a 3-2 victory on Friday night at Bowling Green Ballpark. The Hot Rods improved to 20-15 ahead of the rubber match with the LumberKings on Saturday night, which will have a 6:35 p.m. first pitch.
The Hot Rods took the lead in the second inning thanks to four-consecutive hits off Clinton starter Alberto Guerrero. Chris Betts doubled to right-center with one out, then advanced to third when Roberto Alvarez beat out an infield single. Michael Smith then singled to center to bring home Betts to put Bowling Green up 1-0.
Bowling Green starter Shane McClanahan struck out four over two scoreless inning to begin the night, but he ran into trouble in the third, allowing a leadoff double to Brayan Hernandez. Hernandez moved to third with one out, but McClanahan struck out Connor Scott, Christopher Torres, and Ricardo Cespedes in succession to end the inning and preserve the 1-0 advantage.
That lead was doubled in the fourth as Betts started another rally. The Hot Rod catcher singled to right, followed by singles from Alvarez and Smith to load the bases. Gregorio then delivered a sacrifice fly to give Bowling Green a 2-0 lead.
The score remained the same into the sixth inning. McClanahan issued a leadoff walk, then surrendered a double to J.D. Osborne to bring home Torres, chasing McClanahan from the game in the process. Justin Marsden came out of the bullpen and began his outing by throwing a wild pitch that moved Osborne to third, followed by a walk. Marsden then struck out Demetrius Sims and Marcos Rivera to end the inning and keep the 2-1 lead.
That lead didn't last long as Marsden walked Thomas Jones to begin the seventh inning. Jones stole second, advanced to third on a groundout, then scored on an RBI single to center by Scott, tying the game at two apiece.
Bowling Green immediately mounted a threat in the seventh off new LumberKings pitcher Sean Guenther. Ford Proctor led off with a single, followed by a double by Jake Palomaki that moved Proctor to third. Kaleo Johnson then lofted a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Proctor to break the tie and put Bowling Green up 3-2.
Clinton didn't go quietly in the eighth against Chris Muller. The right-hander snagged a groundball off the bat of Osborne, but threw wildly to first, putting the leadoff man at second base on the throwing error. Muller issued a one-out walk as well, but struck out three batters in the inning to keep the Hot Rods in front. Muller returned for the ninth and set down the side in order to nail down his fourth save of the season, securing a 3-2 win.
McClanahan worked 5.1 innings, allowing one run on four hits while walking two and striking out nine in a no-decision. Marsden (2-1) earned his second win, allowing a run on one hit and two walks in 1.2 innings while striking out three, with a blown save. Muller threw 2.0 hitless innings, walking one and striking out five in a six-out save, his fourth of the season.
Notes: Proctor extended his hitting streak to four games and collected his seventh multi-hit game…Alvarez picked up his eighth multi-hit game…Betts collected his seventh multi-hit game of the season and scored multiple runs for the fifth time…Johnson extended his hitting streak to five games…Smith collected his third multi-hit game…McClanahan went 5.1 innings, the second-longest outing of his career (going 5.2 innings on April 26)…McClanahan also tied his career-high of nine strikeouts for the third time this season…The Hot Rods struck out 17 batters, a season high…BG is now 17-8 in games against a right-handed starter…The Hot Rods are 6-4 in one-run games…BG is 11-6 when they score first…Bowling Green is 17-11 all-time against Clinton, 5-8 at Bowling Green Ballpark…The Hot Rods wrap up the series against the Clinton LumberKings on Saturday night, with a 6:35 p.m. first pitch...RHP Alan Strong (1-1, 2.25) will face Clinton RHP George Soriano (0-2, 5.64)… Tomorrow is a Funtastic Saturday and Pink Out the Park…The Hot Rods will honor and remember women with breast cancer by wearing pink jerseys…The first 500 ladies in attendance will also receive a Hot Rods coffee mug to celebrate Mother's Day…Additionally, ladies will have the opportunity to participate in a postgame Diamond Dig on the field for an opportunity to win a ½ carat diamond from Morris Jewelry…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.
Hot Rods Baseball
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