Lansing, Mich. - A low-scoring contest turned wild in the final two innings of play, but the Bowling Green Hot Rods (Class-A/Tampa Bay Rays) were able to use a rally in the eighth and ninth innings to defeat the Lansing Lugnuts (Toronto Blue Jays) on Saturday night, 4-3. Bowling Green broke a 1-1 tie in the eighth with a run, and added two more in the ninth. Lansing plated two in their half of the final frame, but the Hot Rods were able to hang on.
Pitching would dominate the game early on, but it didn't seem like that would be the case when Bowling Green scored a run in the first inning. Spencer Edwards led off the game with an infield single, and he proceeded to steal both second and third base. With two outs, Granden Goetzman sent him home with a single to left field.
The modest lead would not last as Lansing tied the contest in the second. Derrick Loveless drew a one-out walk, and would later score on a single by Daniel Klein.
Both starters settled down after the first two frames, and both worked six innings. Bowling Green's Chris Kirsch allowed just one run on three hits. Lansing's Chase De Jong also allowed just one run, but on four hits.
The score remained tied at one until the eighth. Yoel Araujo started the rally on the first pitch he saw, as he lined a single up the middle. Alexander Simon reached first base on a drag bunt, and one out later, the bases were loaded when Kean Wong sent a sharp single to left field. With one out, Johnny Field hit a chopper to shortstop Dawel Lugo, and he was unable to turn the double play. Field reached on a fielder's choice, allowing Araujo to score to give Bowling Green the 2-1 lead.
Two more runs were added as insurance for the Hot Rods in the top of the ninth. Pat Blair singled and stole second base to put himself in scoring position. Blair was sent home when Araujo doubled into the left-center field gap. Simon capped the inning with a single of his own to right field, extending the Bowling Green lead to 4-1.
It turned out the Hot Rods would need every one of the insurance runs as the Lugnuts scored two in the bottom of the ninth. Justin Atkinson led off with a single, and scored when David Harris tripled to the right-center field gap. Harris came across when Dickie Joe Thon grounded out to third, but Colton Reavis was able to avert further damage and preserved the win for his fourth save of the season.
William Gabay (1-0) worked out of trouble in both the seventh and eighth innings without allowing a run to earn the win, while Phil Kish (4-3) was handed the loss after conceding the Hot Rods run in the eighth inning.
The Hot Rods will attempt to win the four-game set tomorrow, and fans can follow the action beginning at 12:50 p.m. CT on 1340 WBGN - The Ticket. Baseball will return to Bowling Green Ballpark on Tuesday, June 24, when the Hot Rods host Lake County (Cleveland Indians). For tickets and more information, fans can visit BGHotRods.com or call 270-901-2121.
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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.