[Game recap provided by Hot Rod's Tom Gauthier.]
Bowling Green, KY – Tyler Bortnick hit a go-ahead solo home run in the bottom of the third inning on Friday night at Bowling Green Ballpark. But a fourth inning error allowed Kane County to score two unearned runs, which they made stand up the rest of the way in a 3-2 series opening win.
Kane County broke open the scoring against Aaron Dott in the top of the second inning. With one out, Leonardo Gil took a 2-1 pitch from Dott over the right-center field wall for his sixth home run of the season. It was the first home run allowed by Dott in his career, which began in 2009.
Bowling Green took the lead behind Bortnick’s blast in the next inning. The frame began with a single from Diogenes Luis, who was wiped out on a fielder’s choice from Ty Morrison. The speedy right-fielder then began to motor his way around the bases, taking second on a wild pick-off throw. He stole third and then scored on a balk by Ian Krol to tie the game at 1-1. After Chris Murrill bounced out to second base, Bortnick hammered the first pitch he saw into the Home Run Grill in left field to give the Hot Rods a 2-1 lead.
Kane County came right back and got a pair of runs to re-take the lead thanks to an error in the fourth inning. Max Stassi doubled to begin the frame before taking third on a ground out. Rashun Dixon walked before Myrio Richard hit a slow groundball to third. Julio Cedeno charged the ball hard but his throw was offline to first base and skipped down the right field line. The miscue allowed Stassi and Dixon to score and placed Richard at third.
Dott worked his way out of the inning without further damage, but he left the game after the fourth. His bullpen came on and dominated the rest of the night. Jake Sullivan threw three scoreless innings, allowing just one hit with four strikeouts. He gave way to Scott Shuman, who worked the final two innings by giving up one hit and racking up three more strikeouts.
Ian Krol earned the win for Kane County, throwing 5.2 innings of two-run ball. The Cougars’ bullpen did the rest, with 3.1 scoreless innings between Connor Hoehn and Jose Guzman to seal the win.
The teams now continue the series on Saturday night at 7:05 PM at Bowling Green Ballpark. RHP Jason McEachern (2-5, 4.35) takes the ball against Kane County RHP Rob Gilliam (3-4, 3.68). Saturday night is Ladies Night with the first 1,000 ladies taking home a Pink Hot Rods Tote Bag courtesy of Daymar College.
Saturday also features MLB Hall of Famer Steve Carlton coming to Bowling Green Ballpark to sign autographs from 6-8PM through a promotion with DISH Network ®. Fans need tickets to attend the autograph session, which will take place inside the ballpark. You can purchase tickets in-person at the Hot Rods Ticket Office, by calling 270.901.2121, or by visiting www.bghotrods.com. Gates will open at 5:30 PM for Season Ticket holders and 6 PM for the general public. The autograph session begins sharply at 6 PM. For the courtesy of all fans, there is a limit of one autograph per person.
You can follow the game with Tom Gauthier and Hank Fuerst beginning at 6:50 PM on 1340 AM WBGN and www.bghotrods.com.