Liberatore K's Nine, Witherspoon Has Four Hits in 7-1 Win
Lansing, MI - Grant Witherspoon had four hits while Matthew Liberatore struck out a career-high nine hitters in the Bowling Green Hot Rods 7-1 victory over the Lansing Lugnuts to snap a four-game losing streak on Saturday night at Cooley Law School Stadium. The Hot Rods improve to 39-30 but were eliminated from first-half wild card contention after the Lake County Captains defeated the Fort Wayne TinCaps later in the evening. The Hot Rods and Lugnuts conclude their series and the first half with a 12:05 PM CDT first pitch on Sunday.
The Hot Rods jumped out to an early lead for the second-straight night thanks to a four-run first inning against Lansing starter Josh Hiatt. Michael Smith worked a one-out walk and went to third on Kaleo Johnson's single to right. Chris Betts lifted a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Smith to make it a 1-0 game and Witherspoon singled right to move Johnson to second. Ford Proctor singled to center, plating Johnson to give Bowling Green a 2-0 edge. Roberto Alvarez struck a single to right in the next at-bat, scoring both Witherspoon and Proctor to open up a 4-0 lead.
Bowling Green got to Hiatt and reliever Joey Pulido in the fifth to extend their lead. Johnson walked to start the inning and scored when Betts doubled down the line to right, making it a 5-0 game. Witherspoon singled to right for his third hit of the game, driving in Betts to extend the lead to 6-0. Franco doubled with one out in the sixth and scored when Johnson singled to left as the Hot Rods pulled out to a 7-0 advantage. The Lugnuts added a run in the ninth against reliever Cristofer Ogando, but Bowling Green went on to claim a 7-1 victory to snap a four-game losing streak.
Liberatore (5-0) tossed seven innings of three-hit ball in a win, issuing a walk with nine strikeouts. Ogando threw two innings while allowing one run on two hits with three strikeouts.
Notes: Liberatore went a career-high seven innings... His nine strikeouts were also a career-high... Witherspoon has 16 multi-hit games... He logged his second four-hit game of the season... That ties Witherspoon's career-high... Alvarez had his fourth multi-RBI game of the year... He also had two hits in a game for the 14th time in 2019... Proctor had his 17th multi-hit effort of the season... Johnson had his 16th multi-hit game... Bowling Green is 26-13 when scoring first... They're also 31-7 when outhitting their opponents... The four-game losing streak was the longest of the season for the Hot Rods... The Hot Rods and Lugnuts face off in the final game of the first half on Sunday at 12:05 PM CDT... The Hot Rods will send All-Star RH Caleb Sampen (4-3, 3.60) to the mound against Lugnuts RHP Troy Miller (2-3, 5.29)... 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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