Bowling Green, Kentucky– Rays prospect Greg Jones hit a walk-off grand slam to boost the Bowling Green Hot Rods (8-3) to a 7-3 victory in 11 innings over the Asheville Tourists (4-6) on Saturday at Bowling Green Ballpark. The Hot Rods and Tourists wrap up their six-game series with a
Bowling Green, Kentucky– Rays prospect Greg Jones hit a walk-off grand slam to boost the Bowling Green Hot Rods (8-3) to a 7-3 victory in 11 innings over the Asheville Tourists (4-6) on Saturday at Bowling Green Ballpark. The Hot Rods and Tourists wrap up their six-game series with a 2:05 PM CT first pitch on Sunday afternoon.
The scoring started quicker than Friday’s game, with the Hot Rods picking up a run in the first inning against Asheville starter Juan Pablo Lopez. Pedro Martinez led off with a single and ended up at third after a Jones single and Blake Hunt’s walk. Ruben Cardenas lifted a fly ball to left with one out that scored Martinez to give BG a 1-0 edge.
Asheville scored two runs to take the lead in the third off Bowling Green starter Michael Mercado, but the Hot Rods answered back immediately. Martinez led off the third with a walk and two batters later Hunt connected with his first home run of the year. The shot gave Bowling Green a 3-2 advantage as part of an eight-batter inning that saw the Hot Rods load the bases but strand all three runners.
Scott Schreiber singled to right with Alex McKenna on base to tie the game in the sixth and it stayed that way, well into extra innings. The Hot Rods loaded the bases again in the 10th, but Tourists pitching shut down the rally. Yeremi Ceballos was on the mound for the 11th when magic happened.
Jordan Qsar started the inning on second and, with one out, Ceballos issued intentional walks to both Jacson McGowan and Niko Hulsizer. Martinez struck out, bringing up Jones who launched a walk-off grand slam deep into the night. Jones’ second homer of the season and week ended the game, giving the Hot Rods a 7-3 win.
Mercado allowed two runs, one earned, while holding Asheville to one hit over his 4.0 innings of work with a walk and six strikeouts in a no-decision. Miller Hogan allowed a run on a hit with four strikeouts in relief. Michael Costanzo tossed 2.1 innings of perfect baseball out of the bullpen with four strikeouts. Ezekiel Zabaleta (2-1) picked up a win after 2.2 shutout, hitless innings of work with five strikeouts.
Notes: The Hot Rods struck out 19, a season-high… The total fell one short of the club record (20) set on August 5, 2013 against the South Bend Cubs… Jones hit Bowling Green’s fourth grand slam of the season for the Hot Rods… Three of those slams were hit by right-handed batters… Mercado tied the longest start of the season for a Hot Rods starter with 4.0 innings… The last time the Hot Rods hit a walk-off home run was on August 15, 2017 when Josh Lowe went deep against Lake County Captains pitcher Cesar Ventura… The Hot Rods are 6-1 when scoring first… Saturday was the club’s first extra-inning game of the season… The Hot Rods and Tourists will play the final game of the series on Sunday… The Hot Rods will send RH Tanner Dodson (0-0, 7.71) to the mound against RH Blair Henley (0-1, 10.13)… Opening weekend continues… First pitch will be at 2:05 PM CT… Fans can catch all of the action through the MiLB First Pitch app, tuning into WBGN 94.5 FM and 1340 AM, or visiting https://www.milb.com/bowling-green/fans/audio-listen-live.
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