[Via email from Tom Gauthier, the Bowling Green Hot Rods Director of Broadcast/Media Relations.]
Bowling Green, KY – Chris Murrill walloped a lead-off home run to begin the game and Ty Morrison followed with a solo shot to tie things up in the eighth inning on Saturday night at Bowling Green Ballpark. Those two homers were key parts in a big offensive night for the Hot Rods, which ended in sour fashion with a 15-11 loss to the Kane County Cougars. Despite 16 hits, the Hot Rods dropped their second straight to the Cougars heading into the finale of their long home stand on Sunday afternoon.
Murrill’s blast came on the first pitch he saw in the bottom of the first inning against Robert Gilliam. The blast landed over the right field fence and onto 7th Avenue for his second homer of the season. It propelled the team to a three-run first inning as Tyler Bortnick singled, followed by a walk to Ryan Wiegand. They both eventually scored on a groundout by Mayo Acosta and a Brett Nommensen single to give Bowling Green an early 3-0 lead.
Kane County chipped away with a run in the second before blasting past the Hot Rods with an eight-run fourth. Jason McEachern allowed the first five men to reach and score in the fourth inning before giving way to Jairo De La Rosa. The right-handed reliever recorded the second out with a strikeout before Ty Morrison committed a fielding error, which led to three more runs for the Cougars. All told in the inning Kane County took a 9-3 lead by scoring eight times on five hits, including a home run.
Bowling Green began its comeback in the bottom of the fifth against Gilliam. The first three men all reached on singles, with the third by Wiegand driving home Murrill to cut the deficit to 9-4. Two outs later Brett Nommensen drove home Bortnick before Robi Estrada stroked a two-run single to make it 9-6 Kane County.
After the Cougars answered with another pair in the seventh on a home run against De La Rosa, the Hot Rods remain undeterred. They scored three in the seventh to pull within a run at 11-10. The inning began with a double from Wiegand followed by a single from Mark Thomas and a run-scoring error off the bat of Acosta. Two batters later, Cedeno drove home two with a run-scoring single into left field.
Alex Koronis kept the Hot Rods in a tight game by throwing 2.1 scoreless innings through the sixth, seventh, and eighth. That helped the Hot Rods tie things up in the bottom of the eighth with Morrison’s long home run to right-center field. Morrison’s third home run, his second in three games, pushed the hot Rods into an 11-11 tie and capped off their comeback from a 9-3 deficit.
The tie would be short-lived as Deivis Mavarez came on in the ninth and battled control problems. He allowed the Cougars to scored four times on four walks and two hits to take a 15-11 lead that would survive the bottom of the ninth inning.
For the Hot Rods, the 11-run outburst was their highest of the season, besting a pair of ten-run games in May. Wiegand led the charge with four hits, tying a team high, and adding a walk in five plate appearances.
Murrill, who turned 22 on Saturday, went 2-5 with his second home run of the home stand. Nommensen (two hits), Cedeno (one hit, one walk), and Estrada (two hits) all reached base multiple times while driving in two runs each. All told each Hot Rod had a base hit while seven of nine players picked up an RBI on the night.
The teams now wrap up the series on Sunday afternoon at 2:05 PM at Bowling Green Ballpark. RHP Wilking Rodriguez (3-3, 3.57) takes the ball against Kane County RHP Dan Straily (4-2, 4.61). You can follow the game with Tom Gauthier and Hank Fuerst beginning at 1:50 PM on 1340 AM WBGN and www.bghotrods.com.