(Greenville, SC) - Kyeong Kang had two hits and drove in three runs, including a go-ahead run in the 11th inning on Thursday night. But the Hot Rods (29-34, 64-70) couldn't make those RBI stand up, dropping a 7-6, 12-inning decision to the Greenville Drive (31-35, 70-64). With the loss, the Hot Rods dropped two of three to the Drive while losing seven of 13 match-ups in the 2009 season. They also finished their first season with a 31-38 record on the road.
The winning rally for the Drive came after the Hot Rods had left runners at second and third with only one out in the top half of the inning. With two outs, Joey Callender (0-1) hit Kade Keowen to put the winning run at first. With Oscar Tejeda batting, Keowen stole second and went to third when Tyler Hauschild's throw skipped into center field, the third time that sequence happened in the game. A few pitches later Tejeda made the Hot Rods pay for their fourth error of the game, bouncing a fair ball over the third base bag to give the Drive the win.
Both teams made bids to win the game in the 11th inning as the Hot Rods put runners at the corners with just one out in the inning. Kang came to the plate already carrying two hits and two RBI on the night and bounced a ball to second base. Jake Jefferies, the runner at first, stopped running to avoid the tag by the second baseman, allowing Tim Beckham to score from third while Kang beat out the throw at first to put Bowling Green up 6-5.
Callender gave up a run in the bottom of the inning, issuing a lead-off walk to Jeremy Hazelbaker. The speedy Hazelbaker stole second and went to third on a throwing error before scoring on a bloop single by Zach Gentile. After Gentile stole second followed by a pair of strikeouts, Will Middlebrooks singled to left for what appeared to be the game-winning hit. Kang came up throwing form left, however, and gunned down Gentile at the plate to send the game to the 12th.
Callender's blown save in the 11th ruined the win for new Hot Rods pitcher Deivis Mavarez. The submarine righty threw four scoreless innings allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out five.
The Hot Rods were the first team to score in the game, plating a run in the first inning on Kang's RBI single against Stolmy Pimentel. They grabbed three more in the third on a double by Kang, a wild pitch, and a ground ball from Jason Corder that resulted in a Greenville error. In the fifth, Isaias Velasquez led off with a home run, his first since June, to give the Hot Rods a 5-3 lead at the time.
The Drive got their early runs thanks to a Kade Keowen home run in the second inning against Matt Moore that tied the game at 1-1. The lefty then allowed two runs (one earned) in the fourth on a single from Tejeda and a run-scoring ground ball from Hazelbaker to make it 4-3.
Moore, making his final start, left the game after four innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on three hits and four walks. He struck out seven, raising his league-leading total to 176. His closest pursuer, Lexington's Jordan Lyles, has 161 and would need to strike out 15 Hot Rods on Saturday to catch Moore in the strikeout ranks.
After Moore left Diego Echeverria pitched two innings, but allowed the Drive to tie the game in the sixth. With two outs and runners at first and third, Ryan Lavaranway doubled to the gap in right-center field to tie the game at 5-5.
The Hot Rods now return home for their final home stand on Friday night against the Lexington Legends (Houston Astros), the final meeting with the Bluegrass rivals. First pitch is 7:05 PM. Friday night is Faith and Family Night presented by Christian Family Radio. For a complete list of Friday's events as well as tickets and a full promotional schedule, visit www.bghotrods.com.
Friday's pitching match-up features RHP Chris Andujar (10-4, 2.74) making the start against Lexington RHP Kyle Greenwalt (8-13, 4.10). You can follow the game on the radio beginning at 6:50 PM with Tom Gauthier on 1340 WBGN and www.bghotrods.com.