(Greensboro, NC) - It's not uncommon when a minor league baseball team, after travelling on a bus through night, comes out sluggish the next day on the field. Usually it's the road team that is victimized by "bus lag", but on Monday night the Hot Rods took advantage of sloppy play by host Greensboro to snare a 6-5 series-opening win. A six-run third inning was the difference as the Hot Rods (27-21, 61-57) won for the sixth time in eight games, moving within three games of first-place Asheville in the Southern Division of the South Atlantic League standings.
The big third inning began with a single by Justin Reynolds, a ground out from Jason Tweedy, and a hit batter as starter Kyle Kaminska (8-8) bounced a curveball off the left foot of Anthony Scelfo. After a wild pitch advanced both runners ninety feet, Tim Beckham broke out of a 2-for-15 slump by bouncing a double down the left field line to give the Hot Rods a 2-0 lead.
Jake Jefferies followed with a ground out, moving Beckham to third. Kyeong Kang followed by hitting a slow grounder to the right of the mound, Kamiska fielded it and threw wild to first base allowing Beckham to score while Kang took second. That error should've ended the inning but instead it lead to more chaos.
Isaias Velasquez reached on an error at third. With Mike Sheridan batting, the Hot Rods tried a successful double steal with Velasquez taking second and Kang take home for a 4-0 lead. Sheridan ended up walking in front of a bloop single by Jason Corder that scored Velasquez for a 5-0 lead. That was followed up by an RBI single from Reynolds, his second hit of the inning, to plate the final run against Kaminska. He was relieved by Andrew Loomis, who retired Jason Tweedy for the final out of the inning.
In total, the biggest inning of the season featured 11 batters, six runs (two earned), four hits, three Greensboro errors, one walk, and one hit batter.
Greensboro mounted a rally by scoring five runs between the fifth and seventh innings. A three-run fifth inning against Nick Barnese was highlight by a bases loaded hit batter to score the first Greensboro run. After Barnese struck out Ben Lasater Ryan Keedy hit a ground ball up the middle, fielded by Tim Beckham. Beckham was able to step on second base but his relay to first was low, allowing Keedy to reach. On the play, Keedy picked up an RBI while another run scored on the error by Beckham to cut the deficit to 6-3.
In the sixth, facing Neil Schenk, Thomas Hickman drew a lead-off walk and then came around to scored on a triple from Justin Bass, making it a 6-4 lead. Schenk retired the next five batters before surrendering a two-out, solo home run to Ryan Keedy in the seventh to reduce the lead to one run at 6-5.
That would be the end of the scoring for the Grasshoppers, as Marquis Fleming walked one batter in the eighth before picking that batter off to face the minimum three batters. He gave way to Josh Satow, who worked a perfect ninth for his 19th save of the season.
After the big inning the Hot Rods offense was stymied, stranding the bases loaded in the fifth for their only real scoring opportunity after the third. Beckham led the way with a three-hit night, which included a pair of doubles to move him into the top ten in the SAL in two-base hits. Reynolds also had a multi-hit night, picking up an RBI in his third straight game.
Barnese (6-5) earned the win, going five innings and allowing three runs, two earned, on three hits. He struck out five and walked two. Kaminska took the loss, lasting just 2.2 innings, surrendering six runs, two earned, on five hits, one walk, and a strikeout.
The series continues on Tuesday night as LHP Matt Moore (8-4, 2.64) takes his league-leading 150 strikeouts against RHP Sandy Rosario (1-0, 3.86). First pitch is at 6:05 PM CDT. You can follow the game on the radio beginning at 5:50 PM with Tom Gauthier on 1340 WBGN and www.bghotrods.com.
The Hot Rods return home for a seven-game home stand on Tuesday, August 25 against the West Virginia Power (Pittsburgh Pirates). The seven game home stand features Kraft Singles Tuesday, Thirsty Thursday presented by All Hit WUHU and No. 1 Country Beaver 96.7 on August 27, and post-game fireworks presented by WBKO on Friday, August 28. For tickets and a complete list of promotions visit www.bghotrods.com.