[Via email from Tom Gauthier, Bowling Green Hot Rods Broadcaster.]
Appleton, WI – Mark Thomas and Brett Nommensen each homered to power the Hot Rods to a 17-5 triumph over the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers in the opener of a doubleheader on Wednesday afternoon. Wisconsin rallied for a 4-1 win in the second game, giving the teams a split heading into the series finale on Thursday night.
The Hot Rods game one win was sparked by three big innings for the Hot Rods in the opener of the doubleheader. The first big frame came in the third with Bowling Green actually trailing 2-0. Ty Morrison led off with a single and stole second in front of a walk to Chris Murrill. After a fly out and a failed double steal, Brett Nommensen came up with Murrill at second base and slapped a single through the left side to plate Murrill and cut the deficit to 2-1. After a walk to Ryan Wiegand, Mark Thomas followed with a long home run to left-center field to put the Hot Rods on top 4-2. It was Thomas’ fourth home run of the season, his third on the road.
Kyle Lobstein made that lead stand up until the bottom of the fifth, when he allowed a sacrifice fly, scoring an unearned run to make it 4-3 Hot Rods. He would leave the game for Matt Stabelfeld, who retired Chris Dennis for the final out of the fifth to preserve the one-run lead.
From that point on, the Hot Rods went to hammering Wisconsin pitchers. In the sixth, two singles and a walk loaded the bases for Ty Morrison against reliever Santo Manzanillo. Morrison worked a walk to drive in the first run of the inning. That was followed by an run-scoring infield single from Murrill before Tyler Bortnick bounced into a force out, cutting down a potential run at home for the first out of the frame. After a balk made it 7-3, Brett Nommensen wrapped his fourth home run of the season around the right field foul pole to bust the game open at 10-3. The blast was Nommensen’s third in two games after he homered twice on Sunday against Kane County.
After Wisconsin scored two in the sixth against Stabelfeld, the Hot Rods went back to work in the seventh scoring another seven runs for the biggest inning of the season. It started innocently enough with a single, a fielder’s choice for the first out, and then a strikeout for the second out. But the next seven Hot Rods reached, producing seven two-out runs to make it 17-5. Murrill (single), Wiegand (walk), Thomas (3-run double), Cohen (double), and Cedeno (double) all drove in runs in the frame, which turned out to be the biggest inning of the season.
Stabelfeld earned the win, improving to 2-1 on the season. Lobstein worked 4.2 innings, taking a no-decision after leaving in the fifth with two outs and a runner at first base. The lefty allowed just two hits and one earned run. He was penalized by Hot Rods errors that resulted in two unearned runs. He walked five and struck out five and had just three of his 14 putouts leave the infield.
Offensively, the Hot Rods set a few season and franchise-highs with their 17-run outburst. Thomas set the franchise record with six runs batted in, surpassing Wiegand’s five RBI outing against Clinton on June 1. A seven-run inning is a season high while 17 runs surpasses the previous single-game high of 14 set last July 16 against the Lakewood BlueClaws in the South Atlantic League.
In game two, the Rattlers took an early lead against Alexander Colome in a back-and-forth affair. All-star Khris Davis led off the second inning with a long home run to left field, putting Wisconsin on top 1-0. The homer was the eighth allowed by Colome in 2010, his fifth in two starts in June.
Bowling Green wasted no time tying the game up in the third. With two outs, Ty Morrison doubled to right-center field, scoring a few pitches later on a single from Chris Murrill. The two-out tally continued a common theme for the Hot Rods as they scored 11 two-out runs in the first game.
Wisconsin answered right back with a two-out run of its own in their half of the third. Michael Marseco reached on an error with one out, advancing to second base on the miscue by Ryan Wiegand. After a groundout, Marseco scored on a two-out single into right field by Cutter Dykstra to give the Rattlers a 2-1 lead.
The Hot Rods missed a golden scoring opportunity in the top of the fifth. Still trailing 2-1, the loaded the bases with two outs for Brett Nommensen. The outfielder was greeted by relief pitcher Jon Pokorny, who replaced starter Maverick Lasker after 4.2 innings. Nommensen took an 0-2 pitch to deep right-center field but was robbed of a hit and at least two RBI on a leaping catch by Erik Miller on the warning track to preserve the 2-1 lead.
After that missed opportunity Wisconsin came back to get two big insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth. After a walk and single put runners at the corners, Colome uncorked a wild pitch to plate one run. Two batters later a sacrifice fly scored Scooter Gennett to bump the lead to 4-1.
Colome ended up going the distance, a full six innings, but fell to 4-5 on the season. He allowed four runs, three earned, on four hits and two walks. He added four strikeouts in losing his third straight start.
The series now comes to an end on Thursday night as LHP Aaron Dott (1-2, 3.12) takes the ball against Wisconsin RHP Jake Odorizzi (2-1, 3.81). First pitch is at 7:05 PM CDT. You can follow the game with Tom Gauthier beginning at 6:50 PM on 1340 AM WBGN and www.bghotrods.com.