(Rome, GA) - John Mollicone homered twice and drove in four runs to lead the Hot Rods (3-2, 37-38) to a 10-3 win over the Rome Braves (37-39) at State Mutual Stadium on Tuesday night. Mollicone picked up four hits for the second time in his career, becoming the first Hot Rod to have a multi-homer game in the process. The win improved the Hot Rods to 3-2 during their eight-game road trip to begin the second half of the season. They are now 4-5 against the Braves with a 3-2 series lead in Rome.
Before Mollicone got his first at-bat, the Hot Rods had already built a 2-0 lead thanks to three consecutive hits in the top of the first inning. After Tim Beckham and Jake Jefferies singled, Kyeong Kang delivered a two-run double into the right field corner to put the Hot Rods on the board.
Mollicone would continue the offensive onslaught with his first at-bat in the top of the second inning, sending a double off the left field wall on the first pitch he saw from Delgado. Two batters later Mollicone scored on an RBI single from Anthony Scelfo to make it 3-0.
After a scoreless third inning, one of just three scoreless frames for the Hot Rods, Mollicone struck again, belting the first pitch of the fourth inning into the Rome bullpen for a 4-0 Hot Rods lead. After a walk, a fielder's choice, and a strikeout, Tim Beckham hit his fourth home run of the season over the centerfield wall to push the lead to 6-0. Beckham's homer was his third against the Braves and his second coming in Rome.
All the early offense made it an easy night for Joe Cruz (W; 3-3) who picked up his third win of the season. Cruz allowed just one run over six solid innings, making his first start since June 15. The righty surrendered just five hits with only three of those hits coming in the first five innings. He struck out four and didn't walk a batter for the third time in 11 starts this season.
While Cruz was cruising, Mollicone was mashing. He added an RBI double in the fifth inning, his third hit of the game. Then, two innings later, after Mike Sheridan reached on an error, Mollicone smacked his second home run to deep center to spread the lead to 10-1. The hit was Mollicone's fourth while giving him four RBI, tying career-highs he set on July 9, 2008 with the Hudson Valley Renegades.
In addition to Mollicone, Beckham went 2-5 with his homer and two RBI, bumping his team leading total to 40. Kyeong Kang also picked up two hits and three more RBI to give him 20 on the season.
The series continues on Wednesday night at State Mutual Stadium. The Hot Rods will send LHP Frank De Los Santos (3-6, 4.19) to the mound against Rome's Dimasther Delgado (1-1, 2.84). You can follow the action from Georgia with Tom Gauthier on 1340 AM WBGN and www.bghotrods.com. Coverage begins at 5:45 PM CDT with first pitch coming at 6:00 PM CDT.
The Hot Rods begin their next home stand against the Augusta GreenJackets on July 4 with postgame fireworks presented by WBKO. For tickets and a complete list of promotions, visit www.bghotrods.com or stop by the Hot Rods ticket office at Bowling Green Ballpark.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.