Saturday, May 8, 2010

West Michigan Whitecaps 4, Bowling Green Hot Rods 2

Kyle Spraker plated both of Bowling Greens runs during Saturday' game.[Via email from Tom Gauthier, the Hot Rods Director of Broadcast/Media Relations.]

Comstock Park, MI – A late rally by the Hot Rods (9-20) came up just short on Saturday night at West Michigan, resulting in a 4-2 loss. The defeat snapped the Hot Rods four-game winning streak and evened their series with the Whitecaps at one game apiece.

Trailing 4-0 in the eighth inning, the Hot Rods put the first two runners on base against Jose Ortega thanks to a single by Dustin Biell and a walk to Ryan Wiegand. Ortega was lifted for lefty Kenny Faulk, who threw a wild pitch to advance both runners. Kyle Spraker then followed with a two-run single to right field, cutting the deficit to 4-2 and snapping a 0-19 hitless streak.

After Faulk retired the next three batters, Melvin Mercedes came on for the ninth inning. He struck out Ty Morrison but then walked Chris Murrill and Robi Estrada to put the tying run at first base. Mercedes wouldn’t give in, however, getting Dustin Biell to fly to left before retiring Wiegand on another fly ball that was snagged on the warning track to end the game.

West Michigan got on the board first, getting four runs in the fourth against Rodriguez. The first three men in the inning reached on a hit batter, walk, and bloop single to right-center field. That brought up Avisail Garcia, who chopped a ground ball over the head of third baseman Kyle Spraker to plate two runs and give West Michigan a 2-0 lead.

After a single and a fly ball, Rodriguez surrendered another run on a sacrifice fly to Hernan Perez, lifting the Whitecaps to a 3-0 lead. With another walk, Rodriguez loaded the bases and then uncorked a wild pitch to plate the final run of the frame.

As for the Hot Rods offense, it was a night of missed opportunities, a trend they snapped during their now-ended four-game winning streak. They put runners in scoring position in the first, second, fourth, and fifth innings against starter Ramon Lebron, but couldn’t push a run across. Their best chance came in the fifth, right after the Whitecaps plated their runs. They loaded the bases with one out before Lebron struck out Dustin Biell and retired Ryan Wiegand on a line drive to shortstop to end the threat.

Rodriguez took the loss for Bowling Green, falling to 1-2 on the season. He worked his way through six frames, the fourth time he’s reached that total this season. His final line read four runs on four hits, three walks, and five strikeouts.

Lebron took the win, laboring his way through five shutout innings. The righty improved to 4-1 despite allowing four hits, four walks, and a hit batter. He held the Hot Rods hitless in seven at-bats with runners in scoring position, ending most rallies with one of his seven strikeouts.

With the series now even at a game apiece, the two teams play the rubber game on Sunday afternoon. LHP Kyle Lobstein (0-2, 5.09) takes the ball against West Michigan RHP Trevor Feeney (3-2, 3.14). First pitch on is at 12:00 PM CDT. You can follow the game with Tom Gauthier beginning at 11:45 AM on 1340 WBGN and

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 or call 270.901.2121.

NOTES: Ryan Wiegand finished 2-4, extending his hitting streak to seven games…Robi Estrada had a first inning double and has now hit safely in five straight games…The Hot Rods went 1-11 with runners in scoring position, stranding 11 men in the game.

WP: Ramon Lebron (4-1)
LP: Wilking Rodriguez (1-2)
S: Melvin Mercedes (3)
Time: 2:32
Attendance: 2,991

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