Midland, MI- Jordan Qsar homered and the benches cleared in the ninth inning but the Bowling Green Hot Rods fell to the Great Lakes Loons 7-4 in the middle game of a three-game series at Dow Diamond on Sunday afternoon. The Hot Rods are 68-51 overall and 29-20, one game behind the Loons in the second-half standings with Monday's 11:05 AM CDT first pitch acting as both the three-game and regular-season series finales.
The Hot Rods took a one-run advantage in the second inning against Loons starter Justin Hagenman. Chris Betts worked a one-out walk and went to second on Jonathan Aranda's single to right. Both runners moved up a station after an errant snap throw to first and Roberto Alvarez was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Russ Olive grounded out to second, scoring Betts to give the Hot Rods a 1-0 edge.
The Loons responded with two runs in the bottom of the second thanks to an RBI single by Matt Cogen and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Jair Camargo to take the lead, but the Hot Rods had an answer in the fourth. Jordan Qsar tied the game with a 407-foot home run to left-center, while Betts followed with a triple to right. Alvarez was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game to put runners at the corners and Russ Olive lifted a fly ball to left, allowing Betts to tag and score to give Bowling Green a 3-2 advantage.
Caleb Sampen went five innings, holding the Loons to just two runs, but Great Lakes got to Michael Costanzo out of the bullpen to tie the game and take the lead in the sixth. Romer Cuadrado led off with a solo homer to left-center to tie the game, 3-3. Luke Heyer walked, Leonel Valera singled to center, and Jair Camargo walked to load the bases with two outs. James Outman hit a grand slam to right-center field, finishing off a five-run swing to put the Loons in front 7-3.
The Hot Rods plated a run in the eighth to narrow the gap to 7-4 and Joel Inoa took the mound in the ninth for the Loons with the game coming to a head. With one out and a 2-0 count, Seaver Whalen was hit by a pitch thrown behind him; the third time in two games Whalen had been hit by a Loons hurler. Both benches cleared, but the situation was quickly controlled with no punches or ejections. Inoa continued into the inning, getting the final two outs to force a Monday afternoon rubber match beginning at 11:05 PM CDT.
Sampen allowed two runs on five hits with a walk and seven strikeouts over five innings in a no-decision. Costanzo (0-2) took the loss, allowing five runs on three hits with three walks in 0.2 innings of relief. Nathan Witt tossed a scoreless 2.1 innings, allowing a walk with three strikeouts.
Notes: The Sunday loss ended a three-game winning streak…Nathan Witt, who was a Midwest League All-Star with Great Lakes, made his return to Dow Diamond for the first time as a member of the Hot Rods… He also set a career-high with 2.1 innings of work... He surpassed his previous high of 2.0 innings, which he reached five times… Witt also tied his career-high in strikeouts with three… It's the third time he's reached that total… Olive had his second multi-RBI game of the season… Aranda has a four-game hit streak… He also had his ninth multi-hit game of 2019… Sampen struck out seven for the third time this season… He's had five outings with seven or more K's for the Hot Rods this year… Whalen's six-game hit streak came to an end… BG is now 10-7 on Sundays… This includes a Sunday road record of 2-6… Qsar's homer was the 10th Sunday blast of the season… It's also the 12th time a Hot Rods hitter has homered in the fourth inning of a game this year… BG has homered against the Loons 13 times this season, the second-highest total against any team in 2019… They've hit the most long-balls against Dayton (14) and still have three games left with the Dragons… BG is 47-22 when scoring first after the loss… BG drops to 6-5 in the second half… They're 29-30 on the road this season… The team is 3-2 on the current road trip… It's the Hot Rods' 7th loss this season by three runs... Bowling Green and Great Lakes conclude their three-game series and season series on Monday with an 11:05 AM CDT first pitch… The Hot Rods will send RH Zach Trageton (2-0, 2.92)) to the mound against Loons RH Jack Little (0-0, 1.47)… 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 smartphone.
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