[Via email from the Bowling Green Hot Rods' broadcaster Tom Gauthier.]
Isaias Velasquez singled home Jake Jefferies in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift the Hot Rods (7-4, 41-40) by Augusta 4-3 and back into first place in the South Atlantic League Southern Division on Monday night. The win leaves the Hot Rods with a 5-6 record heading into the season finale with Augusta on Tuesday night.
Velasquez’s game-winning hit came after Jake Jefferies led off the eighth inning by reaching on an error by Augusta shortstop Ehire Adrianza. Mike Sheridan then sacrificed Jefferies to second to make way for Velasquez. The shortstop, who earlier in the game snapped a 13 at-bat hitless streak, stroked a single to left field to score Jefferies with his second hit of the game. The game-winner is Velasquez’s second game-winner against Augusta after he delivered a walk-off infield hit in the tenth inning at Bowling Green Ballpark on April 28. For his heroics, he was dubbed the Koch Air Hottest Hitter of the Game.
The Hot Rods needed the Velasquez single after losing a 3-2 lead in the top of the eighth. With Josh Satow pitching in relief of Neil Schenk, the lefty allowed his first run, albeit an unearned run, since June 7. Satow walked the lead-off man Josh Mazzola, who advanced to second on an error by Jason Tweedy. After a pick-off throw to second base to check on Mazzola, the Hot Rods held an impromptu meeting on the mound, but failed to call time-out. Seeing this, Mazzola stole third base while the meeting occurred leaving runners at first and third. He would then score on a sacrifice fly by Adrianza to tie the game at 3-3.
The Hot Rods had to play catch-up for most of the game after Augusta scored solo runs off of Frank De Los Santos (ND) in the second and third innings. The lefty, however, put together his second straight outing, surrendering eight hits over 5.2 innings, but allowing just one earned run. He struck out three and walked two before leaving with runners at first and second in the sixth.
The Hot Rods began their comeback with a solo home run from Mike McCormick in the last of the third. McCormick’s blast was his fourth of the season, snapping a five game hitless streak. He would also score the tying run in a 2-2 game in the fifth inning on a two-out RBI single from Tim Beckham.
In the seventh the Hot Rods had their first lead on a sacrifice fly from Robi Estrada. Justin Reynolds singled to begin the seventh before McCormick drew his second walk of the game. After a wild pitch from Mitch Lively, Augusta brought on relief pitcher Chance Corgan, who allowed the sac fly but ended the inning without any further damage.
The Hot Rods now go for the split in the fourth game on Tuesday night at Bowling Green Ballpark. The Hot Rods send right hander Nick Barnese (3-1, 1.29) to the mound against Augusta righty Kyle Nicholson (4-7, 3.49). Gates open at 5:30 PM for season ticket holds and 6 PM for the general public. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM. For tickets, visit www.bghotrods.com or head to the Hot Rods ticket office at the corner of 8th Avenue and Center Street in downtown Bowling Green. You can also follow the game on the radio with Tom Gauthier at 1340 WBGN and www.bghotrods.com. Pre-game coverage begins at 6:50 PM.