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Hot Rods Game Notes - High-A East Championship Series Game 4

September 27, 2021 - High-A East League (High-A East) - Bowling Green Hot Rods News Release

Greensboro took a 2-1 series lead last night and Bowling Green looks to force game five tomorrow.

About Yesterday... The Hot Rods couldn't mount another comeback, losing the third game of the High-A East Championship Series 6-5 against Greensboro. Nick Gonzales put the Grasshoppers up with a two-run homer in the top of the first, and in the bottom half, Grant Witherspoon tied it up with a two-run bomb of his own. Jordan Qsar put the Hot Rods ahead briefly in the fifth inning with a two-run shot, but Greensboro scored the final run of the game, taking a 6-5 win and a 2-1 series lead.

Post-Season Power... Grant Witherspoon and Jordan Qsar both homered in Sunday's loss. It was the second homer for both hitters, putting themselves in the Hot Rods record book. Each has two homers this post-season and are now tied for most career playoff home runs in Hot Rods history with two. Moises Gomez (2018) and Trey Hair (2018) both hit two home runs during the 2018 Midwest League Championship run.

First Time for Everything... Although he took the loss on Friday, Taj Bradley did something no other Bowling Green pitcher did this season. His six innings make for the longest outing by a Hot Rods pitcher this season. Not only is it the lengthiest, but it also gave him the first quality start for any Bowling Green pitcher this year.

Yesterday's Notes... Qsar has homered in two straight games... They are his first two post-season home runs... Grant Witherspoon had his second homer of the playoffs... He now has three career post-season homers... Qsar and Witherspoon are tied for the Hot Rods career post-season home run record with two... They are tied with Moises Gomez (2018) and Trey Hair (2018)... BG pitchers combined for eight walks... Their 2021 regular-season high was nine on September 5 vs. Hickory... The pitching staff's 17 strikeouts fall two short of their regular-season high... BG struck out 19 batters in three different games...

Baby Face... Michael Mercado was the newest member of the Hot Rods to make their first post-season appearance. Ian Seymour's debuted in his first postseason on Thursday, while Taj Bradley did the same on Friday. Brett Wisely, Curtis Mead, Diego Infante, Alika Williams, Pedro Martinez, and Angel Felipe all got their first taste of professional playoff action on Thursday as well.

Experience... There are eight Hot Rods who have postseason experience with Bowling Green from the 2019 team. Grant Witherspoon, Jordan Qsar, Erik Ostberg, Roberto Alvarez, Alan Strong, Zack Trageton, Michael Costanzo, and Nathan Witt were all on the roster during the 2019 Midwest League opening round against the South Bend Cubs wearing the blue and orange. Logan Driscoll, Evan Edwards, Gionti Turner, Trey Cumbie, John Doxakis, Carlos Garcia, and Evan McKendry all have experience at various levels in the playoffs.

The Series is Set... The Hot Rods and Grasshoppers face each other for the third time this season as the two best teams in the league. Greensboro bounced back after a rough penultimate series of the season to punch their ticket to the championship against Hudson Valley while the Hot Rods secured their place in the season's final set on their final road trip to Winston-Salem. The season series was close with the Hot Rods taking 7 of 12 while BG was the only South Division team the Grasshoppers had a losing record against.

Season Series Standouts... Grant Witherspoon had a great season against Greensboro, posting a .302 batting average with four homers over 11 games this season. He tied for the team lead in RBIs with Jordan Qsar, who also had 12. Qsar blasted five homers in the season-series while Evan Edwards had four, three of which came in Greensboro in one series. Michael Costanzo and Alan Strong each led the team with four appearances, while Costanzo owned a 1.50 ERA over 6.0 innings of work while Michael Mercado led the team with 12 strikeouts. Greensboro was led at the plate by Will Matthiessen, who posted a .381 batting average over 10 games, knocking in a team-leading 11 RBIs. Four pitchers threw in four games this season with Quinn Priester striking out 13 in his 9.0 innings.

Now Pitching: Evan McKendry... The righty has excelled against right-handed hitters, keeping them to a .235 batting average on balls in play. He has a higher K/9 against left-handed hitters, striking them out at an 11.2 clip. Lefties have also done more damage at the plate, giving McKendry a 5.60 ERA against them. Righties are striking out at just 6.2 K/9, but McKendry has kept a 3.41 against them. He has faced nearly the same amount from both sides of the plate, facing 115 lefties and 114 righties.

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