[Via email from the Bowling Green Hot Rods' broadcaster Tom Gauthier.]
In front of Elvis and 5,081 revved-up fans, the Hot Rods got solid pitching as part of a second straight 3-1 win over the Hickory Crawdads at Bowling Green Ballpark. The victory is the fifth straight for Bowling Green, who scraped together three runs despite going 2-13 with runners in scoring position. The Hot Rods are now 26-19 in the second half, 60-55 overall, but still four games behind Asheville in the South Atlantic League Southern Division.
In a 1-1 game, the Hot Rods were able to manufacture runs in both the sixth and seventh innings against Fabio Castillo. In the sixth, Anthony Scelfo and Tim Beckham lead-off with singles to put runners at the corners for Jake Jefferies. The Hot Rods catcher came through, hitting a slow-roller to second base to drive in Scelfo, while Beckham reached at second safely on an error. That left runners at first and second, but the Hot Rods couldn’t get any more in that frame.
An inning later they were left again to ponder what could’ve been after a lead-off single by Justin Reynolds. He advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Jason Tweedy before heading to third on an infield single from Jeremy Beckham. That’s when Scelfo, for the second straight night, laid down a perfect bunt to score the runner from third to make the score 3-1. Once again, however, the Hot Rods could not score any more as Tim Beckham lined into a double play to end the inning.
Despite lacking the big hit numerous times, the Hot Rods wouldn’t need any more help than the three runs they scored. Chris Andujar (10-3) was strong again, earning Koch Air Coolest Pitcher honors by finally earning his tenth win of the season. He lasted six innings, allowing just an RBI double by Cristian Santana in the top of the second. He surrendered four hits total, walking two and striking out two, lowering his ERA to 2.81.
He was followed up in the bullpen by Marquis Fleming, who turned in another fantastic performance. The right-hander, who has struggled at times in the second half, went two perfect innings. He struck out another three batters and didn’t allow a single ball to leave the infield. He gave way to Josh Satow, who worked a perfect ninth for his 18th save of the year.
Offensively Jake Jefferies saw the end of his 12-game hitting streak, going 0-4 with his 48th RBI. During his streak, Jefferies went 17-48, good for a .354 average. Scelfo went 2-3 with a walk, a stolen base, and an RBI, all while scoring the game-winning run. Kyeong Kang and Justin Reynolds both finished the game 1-3, with Reynolds picking up his 25th RBI, driving in Kang in the bottom of the second inning.
Game three of the series comes on Saturday night for “What Could’ve Been” Night, as the Hot Rods ponder life’s greatest ‘what if’ scenarios, including what if the Hot Rods had been named the Cave Shrimp. RHP Joe Cruz (4-6, 3.52) goes for his fifth win against Hickory RHP Wilfredo Boscan (5-6, 3.15). First pitch is at 7:05 PM with gates opening at 5:30 PM for season ticket holders and 6 PM for the general public. The first 1,000 fans 13 & older will receive a Cave Shrimp T-Shirt presented by Southern States. 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. You can follow the game on the radio beginning at 6:50 PM with Tom Gauthier on 1340 WBGN and www.bghotrods.com.