Hot Rods Fall in 6-5 Walk-Off Loss to Cougars on Wednesday
Geneva, IL - Chris Betts homered and Ford Proctor had a three-hit night, but the Bowling Green Hot Rods couldn't hold off a ninth-inning rally by the Kane County Cougars in a 6-5 walk-off loss on Wednesday night at Northwestern Medicine Field. The Hot Rods are 56-39 overall and 17-8 in the second half with the second game of the three-game series scheduled for Thursday with a 6:30 PM CDT first pitch.
Kane County took the lead in the bottom of the first against Hot Rods starter Matthew Liberatore. Tra Holmes reached on an error and Alek Thomas followed with an infield single. Joey Rose singled to right to score Holmes and give the Cougars a 1-0 lead. With one out, Buddy Kennedy singled to right to plate Thomas while giving the Cougars a 2-0 lead.
Bowling Green evened the score in the fifth against Cougars starter Levi Kelly. Jordan Qsar led off with a single to right and scored when Ford Proctor doubled down the left-field line to make it a 1-0 game. Proctor went to third on an errant throw to the plate during the play and scored with two outs when Jonathan Aranda singled to tie the game at 2-2.
The Cougars and Hot Rods traded barbs in the fifth and sixth, with Kane County taking a 3-2 lead after Thomas was hit by a pitch and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly. Grant Witherspoon reached on an error and made it to third on two wild pitches before scoring on a ground ball to short, tying the game at 3-3.
Bowling Green scored twice in the eighth to take their first lead of the day against Cougars reliever Kei-Wei Lin. With one out, Chris Betts launched his 15th homer of the season, a 398-foot blast to right-center that gave the Hot Rods a 4-3 edge. Connor Hollis singled and stole second, scoring when Grant Witherspoon singled to right to give the Hot Rods a 5-3 advantage.
Kane County came back in the ninth to earn a walk-off victory in the series opener against Hot Rods reliever Joel Peguero. Tim Susnara led off with a single to right and moved up a station on Keshawn Lynch's single to left. Holmes was retired on a sacrifice bunt that advanced both runners and Thomas tied the game with a single to left. Thomas stole second and went to third on an error, scoring the game-winning run on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Joey Rose to give the Cougars a 6-5, walk-off win.
Liberatore hurled six innings while allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Cristofer Ogando allowed one hit over two scoreless innings of work with three strikeouts out of the bullpen. Peguero (2-1) blew his third save of the season in his first loss, allowing three runs (two earned) on three hits over 0.2 innings of work.
Notes: Qsar extended his hit streak to seven games... Aranda extended his hit streak to 10 games... Osmy Gregorio failed to get a hit for the first time in 15 games... Proctor has back-to-back three-hit games... It also tied his season high... It was Proctor's 23rd multi-hit game and eighth three-hit effort of the season... Betts hit his 15th home run of the season... He's one-shy of being tied for fifth all-time in Hot Rods franchise history... He's seven-shy of the franchise record (22, Derek Dietrich)... Betts had his 17th multi-hit game of the season... Hot Rods manager Reinaldo Ruiz was ejected in the fifth inning... It's the second time this season he's been ejected... The Hot Rods are 19-11 in the first game of a series... They're 11-8 against the Western Division this season... Bowling Green falls to 6-7 on the road against Kane County in the all-time series and 14-14 overall... The team is 18-22 when the opponent scores first... The loss snaps a three-game win streak... The Hot Rods continue the three-game series with the Kane County Cougars on Thursday with a 6:30 PM CDT... Bowling Green will send RHP Miller Hogan (1-2, 3.15) to the mound against Kane County RH Ryan Weiss (4-5, 3.73)... Fans can catch all the action with Shawn Murnin on Willie 107.9 FM, as well as, with their smart phones via the MiLB First Pitch app and TuneIn Radio app.
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