Midland, MI- The Hot Rods scored a go-ahead run in the ninth in a 4-3 victory on Saturday night, tying the Great Lakes Loons for first place in the Eastern Division second-half standings. Bowling Green improves to 68-50 overall and 29-19 in the second half ahead of Sunday's 1:05 PM CDT first pitch for the second game of the three-game series.
The Hot Rods took an early lead with Bowling Green's two-hitter getting to Loons starter Stephen Kolek in the first inning. With one out, Seaver Whalen drove the third pitch of his at-bat over the left field wall, giving the Hot Rods a 1-0 lead. The homer was Whalen's fourth of the season and second in three games.
Ford Proctor and Jonathan Aranda extended the Hot Rods lead against Kolek in the third. With one out, Proctor hit the first pitch of his at-bat over the left-field fence for his fifth homer of the season, extending the lead to 2-0. Whalen was hit by a pitch and Ruben Cardenas reached on an error while Jordan Qsar walked to load the bases. Whalen scored when Aranda grounded out to first, giving Bowling Green a 3-0 advantage.
The Loons got a two-run homer in the sixth to narrow the gap and tied it in the seventh. The game remained knotted up until the ninth, when Bowling Green went back in front against Loons reliever Aaron Ochsenbein. Osmy Gregorio led off the inning with a single to right and went to second when Proctor was hit by a pitch. Whalen's sacrifice bunt advanced both runners one base while a wild pitch scored Gregorio from third to give the Hot Rods a 4-3 edge.
Bowling Green reliever Nick Sprengel got a 1-2-3 ninth inning to close out the win, the Hot Rods' third-straight. The victory also forces a tie atop the Eastern Division standings with the Loons ahead of Sunday's middle game of the series.
McGee earned a quality start after holding the Loons to two runs on seven hits with a walk and eight strikeouts in a no decision. Hector Figueroa blew a save, allowing one run on two hits with a walk and a strikeout over 0.2 innings out of the bullpen. Sprengel (1-4) earned the win, allowing a walk before retiring the seven consecutive Loons over his 2.1 innings to secure the victory.
Notes: Whalen has homered twice in three games… He's also got a hit in six consecutive games… Proctor extended his hit streak to seven games with his third inning homer… It was the first time he hit a homer run since June 27… That was against the Loons, as well… Sprengel ended a four-game personal losing streak… He earned his first win since August 25, 2018… He hasn't allowed an earned run in his last eight appearances, spanning 14.1 innings of work out of the bullpen… McGee tied a career-high with eight strikeouts… It's the second time in his career and this season he reached the mark… The Hot Rods are now 3-0 in his starts against the Loons… Gregorio had his 19th multi-hit game of the season… Figueroa made his Hot Rods debut… Qsar had his sixth outfield assist of the season… It's his third assist on an out at home plate in 2019… The Hot Rods improve to 8-3 against Great Lakes this season… They're 3-1 at Dow Diamond this year… The team is 9-7 when wearing their orange uniforms on the road and 16-11 overall this year… BG is 6-4 in August… They're 20-20 in one-run games this season… The team is 22-15 in the first game of a series this season… Sprengel's win gives the bullpen a win-loss record of 26-24 in 2019… BG improves to 47-21 when they score first this season… It's their 12th win of the year when outhit by their opponent… Bowling Green and Great Lakes continue their three-game series on Sunday with a 1:05 PM CDT first pitch… The Hot Rods will send RH Caleb Sampen (9-4, 2.64) to the mound against Loons RH Justin Hagenman (5-1, 1.80)… Fans can catch all the action with Shawn Murnin on Willie 107.9 FM and the Hot Rods Radio Network on the TuneIn Radio and MiLB First Pitch apps, available for smart phone.
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