[Via email from the Bowling Green Hot Rods' broadcaster Tom Gauthier.]
Tim Beckham had his third three hit game on this eight-game road trip on Saturday night, but Bowling Green couldn’t stop its recent slide in a 5-3 loss to Kannapolis at Fieldcrest Cannon Stadium. Bowling Green had the bases loaded in the ninth inning but could score as the Intimidators sent the Hot Rods (27-26, 61-62) to their fifth straight loss. Bowling Green now has an elimination number of 11 as they now sit 6.5 games behind first place Asheville.
Beckham’s third hit was a big one as the Hot Rods, trailing 5-3, made a run at the game in the top of the ninth. Facing Enrique Lechuga, Tyler Hauschild singled to begin the inning for Anthony Scelfo produced a one-out single to bring Beckham to the plate. The Hot Rods shortstop, already holding a triple and a double at that point, smoked one back through the middle against new pitcher Dan Abritton (save, 2) to load the bases. Albritton buckled down, though, striking out Kyeong Kang and Isaias Velasquez to end the threat and the ball game.
It was the second time the Hot Rods left the bases loaded, doing so in the sixth inning after they tied the game at 3-3. With heavy rain falling, Kannapolis starter Nevin Griffith lost control in the sixth, walking three and throwing two wild pitches, the first of which tied the game when Kyeong Kang scored from third. But after a pitching change Tyler Hauschild flew out to right field against Kevin Asselin (6-3) to end the sixth.
Like they did three times on Friday and in the first inning of this game, the Intimidators immediately punished the Hot Rods for leaving the bases loaded. In the bottom of the sixth they took advantage of wildness from Neil Schenk (5-3) to load the bases with a single and two walks. That’s when Drew Garcia stroked a two-out, two-run double to left to drive home the go-ahead and, ultimately, game-winning runs.
Kannapolis had taken its first lead in the fourth against Nick Barnese, who exhibited unusual wildness as well. He put the first three men on in the fourth with a single, hit batter, and a walk before allowing a sacrifice fly to Dan Black. After a second walk loaded the bases again, Kenny Williams grounded out to score the second run of the inning to give Kannapolis a 3-1 lead.
Bowling Green had scored first, getting a first inning run for the fourth straight game. With one out, Beckham smashed a triple to the center field wall, scoring when Kang lifted a sac fly to left for a 1-0 lead. That lead was short-lived as Barnese allowed a lead-off walk to Williams in the bottom of the first, watching him come around to score on a single by Jon Gilmore.
Beckham finished with his triple and single to go along with his 31st double, tying him for 5th most in the South Atlantic League. He now has three three-hit games on the road trip, producing 13 hits over the first six games. Despite striking out in the ninth, Kang extended his hitting streak to four straight with a single in the sixth and his seventh RBI of the road trip on the first inning sacrifice fly.
Game three of the series comes on Sunday afternoon as the Hot Rods turn to LHP Matt Moore (8-4, 2.68). He’ll face Kannapolis LHP Joe Serafin (1-1, 2.78). First pitch is at 4:05 PM CDT. You can follow the game on the radio beginning at 5:50 PM with Tom Gauthier on 1340 WBGN and www.bghotrods.com.
The Hot Rods return home for a seven-game home stand on Tuesday, August 25 against the West Virginia Power (Pittsburgh Pirates). The seven game home stand features Kraft Singles Tuesday, Thirsty Thursday presented by All Hit WUHU and No. 1 Country Beaver 96.7 on August 27, and post-game fireworks presented by WBKO on Friday, August 28. For tickets and a complete list of promotions visit www.bghotrods.com.