(Bowling Green, KY) - Isaias Velasquez picked up his team-leading sixth triple to go along with a pair of RBI on Thursday night, but his effort wasn't enough as the Hot Rods fell to the Charleston RiverDogs 9-5 at Bowling Green Ballpark. The loss evens the series at one game each heading into the third game on Faith and Family Night presented by Way FM on Friday night.
Charleston opened the scoring for the second straight night, this time in the top of the second inning. Making his first start since June 28, right-hander Shane Dyer allowed the first two base runners to reach in the second on a single and an error. Dyer would quickly erase the next two batters before Garrison Lassiter slapped a single down the third base line to plate two runners to give Charleston a 2-0 lead.
The RiverDogs added a run in the fourth inning on a single to center field from Abraham Almonte. That was followed up with a back-breaker of a fifth inning when Melky Mesa hit a two-run double down the right field line followed by a two-out run-scoring single from Almonte that knocked Dyer (1-7) out of the game. The right hander allowed six runs, four earned, over 4.2 innings. He surrendered nine hits and walked three while striking out four.
Before the three-run fifth the Hot Rods had made it a two-run game on Velasquez's sixth triple of the season, a base hit that moved him into the team lead in that category. He drove home Jake Jefferies who led off the fourth with a walk against starter Manny Banuelos (ND). Velasquez, however, was stranded at third when Banuelos ended the inning by retiring John Mollicone and Mike McCormick.
The RiverDogs added to their lead with a three-run seventh inning against reliever Tyree Hayes. Almonte once again figured into the scoring, driving in two runs with a triple to center and then scoring on a balk by Hayes to push the lead to 9-1. Almonte finished with three hits and four RBI in five plate appearances.
The Hot Rods began their comeback in earnest in the last of the seventh against Dan Kapala. With two down, Justin Reynolds was hit by a pitch. He would score on wild play when Jeremy Beckham hit an infield single to third that allowed Reynolds to go from first to third. Charleston first baseman Tommy Baldridge tried to throw Reynolds out at third but his throw sailed high and Reynolds ended up scoring from third on the error. Beckham was at second base on the error and moved to third on a passed ball before scoring on a wild pitch for a two-run frame.
In the eight, still facing Kapala, Jefferies and Kang put together consecutive singles before Velasquez, the Koch Air Hottest Hitter, picked up his second RBI of the game, forcing in Jefferies with a groundout. Kang scored when Mollicone picked up his 12th RBI of the second half on a flare single to right field.
The series continues with the RiverDogs on Friday night with post-game fireworks presented by Atmos Energy and WBKO. First pitch is at 7:05 PM. Gates open at 5:30 PM for season ticket holders and 6 PM for the general public. For tickets, visit www.bghotrods.com.
The pitching match-up for Friday features RHP Joe Cruz (3-4, 3.23) for the Hot Rods against Charleston RHP Brett Marshall (3-5, 5.59). You can also follow the game on the radio with Tom Gauthier at 1340 WBGN and www.bghotrods.com. Pre-game coverage begins at 6:50 PM.