(Bowling Green, KY) - Celebrating his 22nd birthday, Hot Rods first baseman Mike Sheridan delivered to RBI in front of Standing-Room Only Crowd at Bowling Green Ballpark Saturday night. Both times Sheridan drove in a run he moved the Hot Rods into a tie with the Greenville Drive. The Hot Rods eventually ran out of luck, however, as Greenville posted a 9-2 win to take game one of a four game series. The loss for Bowling Green is the second straight, leaving them five games behind Asheville, in third place, in the Southern Division.
Sheridan and the Hot Rods broke the scoreless tie in the last of the fourth inning by manufacturing a run against Greenville starter Caleb Clay. Tim Beckham led off with an infield single, stole second, and advanced to third on a ground out by Jake Jefferies. A few pitches later, birthday boy Mike Sheridan, celebrating his 22nd birthday, drove Beckham in with a grounder to second to give the Hot Rods a 1-0 lead.
That lead was short lived, however, as the Drive came right back in the top of the fifth. Ryan Dent hit a sacrifice fly to score Mitch Dening after a lead-off triple to make it 1-1. After being hit by a pitch, Pete Hissey stole second and then scored on a single by Oscar Tejeda to make it 2-1 Greenville.
The Hot Rods tied it an inning later in the last of the sixth, with Sheridan, the Koch Air Hottest Hitter, delivering again. The rally began with consecutive singles from Isaias Velasquez and Beckham. With one out, Sheridan hit a ground ball single to right to score Velasquez to tie the game at 2-2. Despite having runners at second and third after the single Bowling Green could not add any more against Clay or reliever Will Latimer, leaving the bases loaded.
The Hot Rods would pay for the lack of a big hit in the very next inning when the Drive sent 11 men to the plate, scoring five times to break the game wide open. The scoring started against Shane Dyer (1-8) with a two-run homer from Mitch Dening to make it 4-2. One out and two singles later Mike Thomas doubled home two runs to make it 6-2. A few batters later, with the bases loaded, Dyer walked Ty Weeden to force in the final run of the inning for a 7-2 Greenville lead.
Dyer (1-8) left the game after the walk, being charged with five runs on six hits over 1.2 innings. He took his first loss out of the bullpen, striking out three but walking two.
Will Latimer got the win for the Drive, coming on in relief of Clay with runners at second and third in the 6th. He went 3.1 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit in his 2009 debut with Greenville.
In addition to Sheridan, Beckham stayed hot for Bowling Green, picking up three base hits to run his total to seven over the last three games. Jefferies also singled to extend his hitting streak to a season-high eight games. Kyeong Kang, however, went 0-2 with a walk to see the end of his personal-best 10 game streak.
The series continues on Sunday afternoon at 1:05 PM at Bowling Green Ballpark. LHP Frank De Los Santos (4-6, 3.70) gets the ball against Greenville RHP Mike Lee (3-4, 3.86). Sunday is Water Safety Day presented by the US Army Corps of Engineers. The first 1,000 fans 12 & under will get an Axle T-Shirt with Water Safety tips. For tickets, visit www.bghotrods.com or head to the Hot Rods ticket office at the corner of 8th Avenue and Center Street at Bowling Green Ballpark.
You can follow the action with Tom Gauthier on 1340 WBGN and www.bghotrods.com beginning at 12:50 PM CDT.