[Via email from the Bowling Green Hot Rods' broadcaster Tom Gauthier.]
Hot Rods catcher John Mollicone, playing in his first game in a week, broke a 2-2 tie with an 11th-inning RBI single on Monday night, sparking the Hot Rods (15-9, 49-45) to a 3-run frame and an eventual 5-2 win over Delmarva. Mollicone’s heroics gave the Hot Rods a split of their four-game series with the Shorebirds (12-12, 48-45) as well as a split of the eight-game road trip. It also leaves the Hot Rods with a 5-0 record in extra-innings. They are just one game behind division-leading Asheville and a half-game behind second-place Augusta heading into Tuesday’s off-day.
The winning rally started with a rare miscue by a steady Delmarva defense. Shortstop Greg Miclat overthrew first base on an Isaias Velasquez groundball, allowing Isaias to advance to second. Mike Sheridan then laid down a sacrifice bunt to move to Velasquez to third. That’s when Mollicone came up and roped one down the left field line to score Velasquez and give the Hot Rods a 3-2 lead. After Jason Tweedy grounded out, Justin Reynolds picked up his second RBI of the game on a single to center field, scoring Mollicone for a 4-2 lead. A few batters later, with Reynolds at third, Anthony Scelfo was picked off first base but the throw to second went into center field to score Reynolds for the final run of the inning.
The three-run rally gave Josh Satow plenty of breathing room to earn his 13th save with a 1-2-3 11th. His effort capped off a great night for Bowling Green’s bullpen. The Hot Rods used six relievers, beginning with Diego Echeverria in the fifth. He went 1.2 scoreless followed by a scoreless inning from Jamie Bagley and two scoreless from Marquis Fleming. Tyree Hayes allowed a walk in the tenth but stranded a man at third in his scoreless frame, eventually earning the win to improve to 5-2. As a unit the bullpen pitched 6.2 scoreless, hitless innings.
The Hot Rods got on the scoreboard first in the top of the second inning against starter Ryan O’Shea (ND). Isaias Velasquez started the frame with his 19th double of the season to left-center field. He then advanced to third on a single to left courtesy of Mike Sheridan. After John Mollicone struck out, Jason Tweedy worked a walk to load the bases for Justin Reynolds. JR enter the game hitting .316 over his last eight games, and while he wouldn’t pick up a base hit, a bases loaded walk brought in the first run of the game to make it 1-0. Another run was added when Anthony Scelfo bounced into an RBI fielder’s choice for a 2-0 lead.
Delmarva battled back to tie it with a pair of runs against Hot Rods starter Chris Andujar (ND) in the fifth. With one out, Xavier Avery lined a triple to left-center for his first hit of the series. Luis Bernardo walked to put runners at first and third for Hudson. A former college wide receiver, Hudson slapped a two-strike single into left field, his third hit against Andujar, to drive in Avery for the first run.
That forced Andujar from the game for Echeverria, who issued a walk to Greg Miclat to load the bases. Diego then retired Joe Mahoney on an infield pop-up for the second out. Before he could get the final out, Echeverria unleashed a wild pitch that scored Bernardo to tie the game at 2. Moments later Ron Welty flew to left to end the inning. The run that scored was charged to Andujar, who gave up two over 4.1 innings. He allowed just four hits while striking out a season-high six. Andujar finished his outing with a 2.41 ERA, fourth-best in the South Atlantic League.
After an eight-game road trip, the Hot Rods have Tuesday off before beginning an eight-game home stand against the Northern Division on Wednesday, July 22. The Hagerstown Suns will be in Bowling Green to open the home stand with Hannah Montana/High School Musical Night and Feeding American Food Bank Night. First pitch is at 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 at Bowling Green Ballpark.
RHP Joe Cruz (4-4, 3.43) will start the opener of the home stand Wednesday night. You can follow the game on the radio with Tom Gauthier at 1340 WBGN and www.bghotrods.com. Pre-game coverage begins at 6:50 PM CDT.