BOWLING GREEN, KY - West Michigan Whitecaps pitching struggled in giving up eight runs in the first three innings as part of a 12-2 loss to the Bowling Green Hot Rods on Saturday night at Bowling Green Ballpark.
The Whitecaps have now lost seven of eight games against the Hot Rods this year and have gone a combined 4-19 against Bowling Green dating back to the beginning of the 2018 season.
The Hot Rods jumped all over 'Caps starting pitcher Gio Arriera in the early innings. After scoring a run in the first on a Connor Hollis RBI-double, Arriera walked four consecutive batters including two with the bases loaded in failing to record an out in the second before being pulled from the contest. In the third, Kevin Santiago lifted a two-run homer to right before 2019 Midwest League Home Run Derby Champion Chris Betts blasted an opposite-field grand slam, his 14th home run of the season, to give the Hot Rods a 12-0 lead.
In the seventh, Parker Meadows hit his fifth home run of the season on a towering drive down the right-field line to break the shutout and put West Michigan on the scoreboard. The 'Caps plated another run in the ninth, but it couldn't stop Bowling Green from taking the first of a three-game series.
Alan Strong (6-4) tossed seven outstanding innings of one-run baseball in picking up his sixth victory of the season, while Arriera (2-6) suffered his sixth loss. The righty allowed at least five runs for the eighth time in his 13 starts this season. The Hot Rods improve to a Midwest League second-half best 12-4, with a 51-35 overall record, while the Whitecaps fall to 7-9 in the back half with a 28-57 overall record. Infielder Wenceel Perez reached base four times for West Michigan with a single, run scored and three walks in a losing cause. Hollis went 3-for-5 with a run scored, two doubles and two RBI to lead the Hot Rods offense in the victory.
The Whitecaps continue this three-game series against the Bowling Green Hot Rods on Sunday afternoon from Bowling Green Ballpark at 3:05 pm. Righty Hugh Smith starts for West Michigan against the Hot Rods Easton McGee. Broadcast coverage with Dan Hasty begins on the Whitecaps Baseball Network at 2:55 pm. Tickets are available for any Whitecaps 2019 home contest by calling the Whitecaps front office at 616-784-4131 or by visiting www.whitecapsbaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.