BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - A seven-run seventh inning for the Loons against the Bowling Green Hot Rods turned a one-run game into a blowout, and Great Lakes pulled even in the three-game series with a 9-3 win on Saturday night at Bowling Green Ballpark.
The win improves the Loons' record to 36-33, and guarantees the birds a winning record in the first half of the season, which concludes Sunday afternoon at 2:05 p.m. EDT.
The Loons loaded the bases three times in the first six innings, but scored two runs and stranded nine runners before the decisive seventh inning.
After Bowling Green right-handed reliever Peter Bayer walked the first two batters of the inning, field manager Reinaldo Ruiz hailed for hard-throwing righty Orlando Romero out of the bullpen. Romero entered his 12th outing of the season with a 1.59 ERA, but he, too, walked his first two batters, and the Loons gained a 3-1 edge with no outs.
A sacrifice fly by Mitchell Hansen pushed the lead to 4-1, and two hits later, the Loons led 5-1 with the bases reloaded against Romero. Loons shortstop Gavin Lux flew out to short left field, and did not score a run, but the Loons scored four more runs with two outs, and Romero departed before the inning ended.
Righty Darien Tubbs, who lined out to center field with two outs and the bases loaded in the sixth inning, delivered a two-RBI single to left field in the seventh. When left-handed hitter Cody Thomas singled home Saige Jenco later in the inning to make the score 8-1, Tubbs attempted the trek from first to third. On his slide into third, Bowling Green third baseman Adrian Rondo booted the ball up the left-field line, and Tubbs scored.
Left-hander Leo Crawford anchored the Loons efforts defensively, returning to the same mound on which he earned the win in game three of the Loons opening-round playoff victory over Bowling Green last September. Nine months later, Crawford (4-4) again shined, this time pitching seven innings with one run allowed on four hits and five strikeouts.
It was Crawford's sixth quality start of the season, and he is now 4-2 since the start of May. The seven-inning showing tied a career-high for the 20-year-old.
The 2016 Midwest League Champions and hosts of the 2017 MWL All-Star Game presented by GoGreat.com have been a Single-A partner of the Los Angeles Dodgers since the team's inception in 2007. For tickets and more information about the Great Lakes Loons, call 989-837-BALL or visit Loons.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.