[Via email from the Bowling Green Hot Rods' broadcaster Tom Gauthier.]
A ten-run fifth inning sent the Hot Rods (28-28) surging on Wednesday night as Bowling Green snapped a seven game losing streak with a 13-3 shellacking of the West Virginia Power (32-23, 59-66). The best inning of the season evened the Hot Rods series with West Virginia at a game each, while ensuring Bowling Green wins the season series. The Hot Rods stayed 8.5 games behind Asheville but saw their elimination number reduced to four with another Asheville victory.
Despite the ten-run inning, the Hot Rods had a lead already after the bottom of the fourth. Trailing 2-0, Jason Corder delivered a lead-off single against starting pitcher Hunter Strickland (3-2, 8-6). Two batters later Mike Sheridan lined a single to left to put runners at first and second. That’s when Justin Reynolds lined a one-out, two-homer into the Home Run Grill to put Bowling Green on top 3-2. The home run seemed to light a fire under the Hot Rods bats as they had two more hits in the fourth before breaking out in the fifth.
The big inning started with a single from Kyeong Kang followed by a double from Corder. With runners at second and third Isaias Velasquez lined a double off the left field wall to plate two runs for a 5-2 lead. Velasquez stayed at second as Sheridan walked, but he came around to scored when Reynolds picked up his fourth RBI of the night with a single to left-center field to bump the score to 6-2.
That ended the night for Strickland after four plus innings, as the right-hander gave way to Noah Krol. The new pitcher recorded the first out of the inning on a groundout by John Mollicone, before allowing the next five batters to reach to bust the game wide open. Robi Estrada had an RBI single followed by a two-run double from Anthony Scelfo. Tim Beckham followed that with a run-scoring single to extend his hitting streak to nine games. After a walk to Kang, Corder came up again and belted a triple to deep center field to score two more runs before scoring himself on a ground out by Velasquez to cap the scoring.
The tale of the tape saw the Hot Rods scored ten runs in the inning. Fourteen men came to the plate to produce nine hits, including four doubles and a triple with a pair of walks. Eight of nine men had base hits in the inning while Corder had two hits and Kang and Sheridan reached base twice.
The run support ensured that Joe Cruz (5-8) would snap a four-game losing streak. After allowing a run in the first inning Cruz got tough, allowing one unearned run over the final four innings of his outing. He went five, giving up three hits, two runs (one earned), while walking three and striking out three. He will enter his next start one strikeout short of a career-high 100 in a single season.
For West Virginia pitching, Strickland took the loss allowing eight runs on 11 hits over four-plus innings. Krol went just one inning giving up five runs on five hits before turning it over to Diego Moreno, who worked three perfect to end the game.
The Hot Rods got two innings of work from Neil Schenk, who allowed one run in the seventh. Diego Echeverria threw the final two innings without allowing a base runner to seal the win.
Reynolds led the offense with three hits and his second four RBI game of the season. Corder also finished with three hits, falling a home run shy of the cycle while scoring three runs. Kang, Sheridan, and Estrada had multi-hit games with Kang and Scelfo drove in two runs each. All nine men in the starting line-up had base hits while six of the nine men were on base at least twice.
The Hot Rods will try to make it back-to-back wins by sending Frank De Los Santos (4-9, 4.03) to the mound against RHP Brian Leach (5-3, 3.32) on Thursday night. Thursday is the final Thirsty Thursday of the season presented by All Hit WUHU 107 and No. 1 Country Beaver 96.7 FM. First pitch at Bowling Green Ballpark is 6:35 PM. Gates open at 5:00 PM for season ticket holders and 5:30 PM for the general public. For tickets, visit bghotrods.com You can follow the game on the radio beginning at 6:20 PM with Tom Gauthier on 1340 WBGN and www.bghotrods.com.