Hot Rods Use Early Homers to Pull Away in 11-3 Win
Eastlake, OH - Chris Betts broke a 3-3 tie with a solo homer in the third and Kaleo Johnson added a three-run shot an inning later as the Bowling Green Hot Rods pulled away from the Lake County Captains on Saturday night, taking game three of the series by an 11-3 score. The Hot Rods improved to 24-18 ahead of Sunday's series finale, which will have a 12:30 p.m. CDT first pitch at Classic Park.
Bowling Green threatened right away in the first against Captains starter Shane McCarthy. Michael Smith reached on an error to begin the game, then advanced to third on Wander Franco's single. After Franco stole second, McCarthy struck out the next two hitters. Grant Witherspoon followed with a two-run single on an 0-2 pitch, scoring both runners. After a Roberto Alvarez single, Jake Palomaki lined a double to left, scoring Witherspoon to put the Hot Rods up 3-0.
In the bottom half of the inning, though, Lake County got it all back against Bowling Green starter Cristopher Sanchez. After a leadoff single, Tyler Freeman lined a two-run homer run into the left-field bleachers. Three batters later, Ruben Cardenas crushed a solo shot of his own over the wall in left-center field, tying the game at three apiece.
In the third, Betts broke the tie by unloading on a full-count delivery and clearing the grass berm over the right field wall. His solo home run, his team-high sixth of the season, put Bowling Green back in front, 4-3.
An inning later, the Hot Rods extended the lead. Smith drew a one-out walk, then moved to third on a double by Franco. Johnson then jumped on a first-pitch fastball and deposited it over the left-field wall for a three-run homer, his fifth of the year. The rally would continue, as Witherspoon drew a two-out walk to chase McCarthy from the game. After stealing second, Witherspoon came home on Alvarez's RBI single off new pitcher Riley Echols, putting Bowling Green up 8-3.
In the fifth, Tony Pena ripped a leadoff triple off Echols' first pitch of the inning. Two batters later, Smith pulled ground ball through the right side to score Pena, giving Bowling Green a 9-3 lead.
In the bottom of the inning, Alan Strong came into the game and proceeded to hold the Captains off the board the rest of the way, retiring the eight straight batters at one point. In the ninth, he received more insurance, as Smith tripled down the right-field line, scoring Alvarez and Pena to put BG up 11-3, which proved to be the final score, securing the Hot Rods second consecutive win.
Sanchez went 4.0 innings, allowing three runs on four hits, while walking one and striking out two in a no-decision. Strong (3-2) worked the last 5.0 innings, allowing just three hits and no runs, striking out seven without walking a batter in earning his third win of the season.
Notes: Franco and Pena both have six-game hitting streaks...Betts and Alvarez each have hit in four straight games...Franco recorded his tenth multi-hit game...Alvarez picked up his 11th multi-hit game and tied his career-high with four hits, which he did twice in 2016 for the DSL Rays...Alvarez has the first four-hit game by a Hot Rod this season and the first since Ronaldo Hernandez on September 2, 2018...Smith had his fifth multi-hit game, tying a season-high with three hits...Smith's three RBI tie a career-high, set on June 24, 2018...It is his third multi-RBI game this season... Palomaki picked up his sixth multi-hit game...Witherspoon posted his sixth multi-RBI game of the season...Johnson had his seventh multi-RBI output...Bowling Green hit two triples, the second time they have done so this season (also May 6 vs. Burlington)...The Hot Rods scored ten or more runs for the fifth time season...Strong earned his third win, two of which have come in relief...Sanchez's 4.0-inning outing is the shortest outing by a Hot Rods starter since May 5 at Peoria, a span of 11 games...BG is 21-5 when out-hitting their opponents...The Hot Rods are 20-10 against right-handed starters...Bowling Green has allowed three runs or fewer in 12 of their 18 games in May...BG improves to 16-7 when scoring first...The Hot Rods improved to 10-2 while wearing their orange uniforms...Bowling Green is 91-73 all-time against Lake County, 40-43 at Classic Park...The Hot Rods will close the four-game series against the Lake County Captains with a 12:30 p.m. CDT first pitch on Sunday afternoon...RHP Easton McGee (3-0, 1.86) starts for the Hot Rods, while RHP Luis Oviedo (4-2, 4.13) gets the ball for Lake County...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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