[Via email from Tom Gauthier, the Hot Rods Director of Broadcast/Media Relations.]
Comstock Park, MI – In a wild and run-filled contest, the Hot Rods scored five runs in the first inning and never looked back, beating West Michigan 10-7 on Sunday afternoon at Fifth Third Ballpark. The ten-run output was the largest of the season for the Hot Rods and gives them their second straight series victory heading to Lake County on Monday night.
The Hot Rods first inning started innocently enough with Chris Murrill popping out to shortstop. After that, it was pure chaos for starting pitcher Trevor Feeney. Tyler Bortnick doubled and Dustin Biell and Ryan Wiegand reached on infield singles to load the bases. That brought up Mayo Acosta, who followed with an infield single of his own to drive in Bortnick for a 1-0 lead.
After newcomer Gabe Cohen flew to left field, the Hot Rods put together three more hits. The first by Kyle Spraker drove in Biell and Wiegand to bump the lead to 3-0. After Robi Estrada singled to left to load the bases again, Ty Morrison singled to the gap in left-center field. Acosta and Spraker scored on the base hit, which was bobbled in center fielder Jamie Johnson. On the bobble, Estrada tried to score from first base but was thrown out to end the frame.
By the end of the inning, the Hot Rods had their best single-inning output of 2010, scoring five runs on seven hits. They picked up four more two-out runs and went 6-7 with RISP.
After West Michigan scored a run in the last of the first inning, Bowling Green answered with another two-out tally in the second. With one out, Bortnick doubled down the right field line. Biell followed with a pop-up, Bortnick took third on a wild pitch, and Wiegand drew a walk. Acosta then came through with his second infield single to third, plating Bortnick to make it 6-1.
In the third the Whitecaps added two more against Lobstein, once again featuring former Hilltopper Gayner. With one out, he singled to make it 6-2. That was followed by a single from Lennerton to cut the lead to 6-3.
Once again, Bowling Green tallied a run right back against Feeney. Bortnick began the fourth by reaching on an error by Gaynor. He stole second and then scored on a single from Wiegand for a 7-3 lead.
But in the bottom of the fourth West Michigan answered right back with a little help, fittingly enough, from Mother Nature on Mother’s Day. Alexis Espinoza lifted a fly ball to deep center field that was lost in the sun by Ty Morrison and resulted in a triple for Espinoza. He came home on a groundout by Luis Salas, cutting the Hot Rods lead down to 7-4.
An inning later the Whitecaps made it 7-5, again with the help of Gaynor. He doubled with two outs, scoring two batters later on a single by Avisail Garcia. Lobstein would strike out Espinoza to end the inning, but not until he gave up five runs on nine hits, both career highs. In the end, though, he pitched five innings and left the game with a 7-5 lead.
Feeney was gone after four in favor of Luis Sanz. Sanz worked a scoreless fifth before giving up an unearned run in the sixth on a sacrifice fly from Mayo Acosta. An inning later he allowed another unearned run, once again crossing home plate on a sac fly from Dustin Biell to make it 9-5.
West Michigan tacked another run in the seventh against Matt Stabelfeld. The lefty walked Hernan Perez, then gave up a single two batters later to Jordan Lennerton. Avisail Garcia then drove in the run with a force out before Stabelfeld retired the side.
Over the final two frames West Michigan tacked on an unearned run in the eight before Bortnick drove in one more for the Hot Rods in the ninth to cap the scoring.
Lobstein earned the win for the Hot Rods, his first in 2010. He was the beneficiary of a milestone day for Bowling Green as the offense set a season high with 10 runs on a franchise-record 20 hits.
Morrison led the way with four hits, two RBI, and two stolen bases. It capped off a great series for Morrison as the outfielder had eight hits and stole five bases in the series.
Every starter in the line-up had at least one hit, including newcomer Gabe Cohen, who finished 2-5 with a double. Bortnick had a pair of doubles among his three hits. Acosta drive in three runs while Spraker went 2-5 with two more RBI.
The Hot Rods now head to Eastlake, OH, to begin a three-game series with the Lake County Captains (Cleveland Indians) on Monday night. First pitch on is at 5:30 PM CDT. RHP Alexander Colome (1-2, 2.41) starts the series for the Hot Rods. You can follow the game with Tom Gauthier beginning at 11:45 AM on 1340 WBGN and www.bghotrods.com.
The team returns home to open a four-game set with the Lansing Lugnuts (Toronto Blue Jays) on Thursday, May 13 at 7:05 PM. Thursday’s promotions include Thirsty Thursday presented by Beaver 96.7 FM and All Hit WUHU 107 and Hootiepalooza Night presented by WNKY. Hootiepalooza celebrates the birthday of Darius Rucker, country music star and lead singer of Hootie and the Blowfish, and features a charity raffle for an acoustic guitar autographed by Rucker. For tickets, visit www.bghotrods.com or call 270.901.2121.
WP: Kyle Lobstein (1-2)
LP: Trevor Feeney (3-3)
S: Scott Shuman (3)