Liberatore K's Eight in 4-3 Walk-Off Loss to Whitecaps
Comstock Park, MI - Matthew Liberatore tied a career-high by striking out eight batters but the West Michigan Whitecaps walked off the Bowling Green Hot Rods in the ninth, 4-3. Bowling Green is 25-20 and will play the third game of the series on Wednesday with a 10:00 AM CDT first pitch at Fifth Third Ballpark.
The Hot Rods broke a scoreless tie in the second inning against Whitecaps starter Chance Kirby. Kaleo Johnson led off with a double to left and scored in the next at-bat when Ford Proctor tripled to deep left-center field to make it a 1-0 game. With one out, Osmy Gregorio plated Proctor with a single to left of his own, making it a 2-0 Hot Rods lead.
West Michigan got to Bowling Green starter Liberatore in the second, cutting the Hot Rods lead in half. After recording two outs, including his fourth strikeout of the game, Liberatore allowed a walk to Sam McMillan. Jordan Pearce struck a triple to right-center, plating McMillan to make it a 2-1 game.
Bowling Green extended their lead in the fourth against Kirby and the Whitecaps with two outs. Tony Pena singled to left and stole second base with Gregorio walking behind him. Beau Brundage singled to right, scoring Pena and extending the Hot Rods lead to 3-1.
The Whitecaps came within a run in the fifth during Liberatore's final inning of work for the Hot Rods. McMillan reached on a throwing error while Pearce and Jose King walked to load the bases. Liberatore struck out Jeremiah Burks for the first out of the inning and his eighth K of the game but walked Wenceel Perez to force home McMillan from third and make it a 3-2 game.
West Michigan tied the game in the sixth against Hot Rods reliever Cristofer Ogando in his first inning of work out of the bullpen. Daniel Reyes led off with a double to left and went to third on a wild pitch. Rey Rivera dumped a single into right field to score Reyes and tie the game, 3-3, while Ogando struck out the next three Whitecaps hitters to end the inning.
The Whitecaps walked off Bowling Green in the ninth after Chris Muller had gotten the first two outs of the inning. Perez walked with one out in a full count, but Parker Meadows popped out for the second out of the frame. Ulrich Bojarski moved Perez to second on an infield single to put the winning run in scoring position. Reyes hit a ground ball on the first pitch he saw back up the middle, hitting the bag at second base and bouncing over the glove of Gregorio in center field to score Perez and walk off the Hot Rods, 4-3.
Liberatore worked five innings in his second start of the season, allowing two runs (one earned) on a hit with five walks and eight strikeouts in a no-decision. Ogando allowed one run on two hits with a walk and three strikeouts over 1.2 innings of relief in a blown save. Muller (0-3) took the loss, allowing one run on three hits with a walk and two strikeouts over two innings.
Notes: Liberatore tied career highs in innings pitched (5.0, five times) and strikeouts (eight)... Johnson hit fifth in the order for the first time this season... He also extended his hitting streak to four games... Hollis extended his hitting streak to four games... Pena has a seven-game hit streak... It's the third Hot Rods hit streak that's reached at least seven games... Brundage has hit safely in three-straight games... Muller has taken a loss in each of his last three appearances... Proctor extended his hitting streak to four games... He had his eighth two-hit game and 10th multi-hit game of the season... BG is 11-10 in the month of May... They're 8-6 in one-run games... The Hot Rods are 16-8 when they score first... They're also 20-6 when out-hitting their opponent... The Hot Rods continue the four-game series with the West Michigan Whitecaps on Wednesday with a 10:00 AM CDT first pitch...The Hot Rods will send RHP Caleb Sampen (2-2, 3.83) to the mound against Whitecaps LH Adam Wolf (2-4, 7.80)... 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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