[Game recap provided by Tom Gauthier of the Bowling Green Hot Rods.]
Fort Wayne, IN - After a gut-wrenching loss on Sunday, the Hot Rods picked up an exhilarating see-saw win on Monday afternoon, beating the Fort Wayne TinCaps 8-7 at Parkview Field. Cody Rogers went 4-5 with two home runs to lead the Hot Rods offense, but it was a Dustin Biell run-scoring groundout in the top of the ninth that proved to be the difference to even the Hot Rods (6-5, 37-43) and Tincaps (6-5, 42-39) at one game each heading into their series finale on Tuesday night.
The Hot Rods jumped out early, helping to erase a tough loss on Sunday night. Rogers, a newcomer to Bowling Green, led off the game with the first of his two home runs, smacking a 3-2 fastball from Mike Watt to deep right field to put Bowling green on top 1-0.
The inning continued with one out when Brett Nommensen single to right, stole second, and then scored on a single to right by Ryan Wiegand. Dustin Biell followed with a single before Kyle Spraker was hit by a pitch to load the bases. That brought up Tomas Francisco, who popped up to second base for an infield fly. On the play, the ball was dropped by Jeudy Valdez to allow Wiegand to score the third run of the inning.
They added to their lead in the second, once again getting a bit hit from Rogers. Robi Estrada began the inning with a single to left-center field. He took second on a sacrifice bunt from Ty Morrison and then scored on a single to center by Rogers for a 4-0 lead. After another single by Bortnick, which resulted in Rogers being thrown out at third, Brett Nommensen picked up two-out run-scoring hit to extend the lead to 5-0.
That's when the TinCaps started their rally. They scored two runs in the second against Alexander Colome, getting one hit, a walk, and an error to plate the runs. An inning later it was a three-run frame that tied the game with the TinCaps getting runs on a single, a bases-loaded walk, and a wild pitch to knot things up at 5-5.
The Hot Rods then re-took the lead in the top of the fourth with Robi Estrada singling and then being erased on a grounder by Ty Morrison. With one out, Morrison stole second to set up Rogers once again. Rogers pulled a ball down the right field line for a double to score Morrison and put the Hot Rods back on top 6-5.
Colome took the lead through the fourth and then into the fifth, eventually recording the first two outs of the inning. But with two outs, the right-hander allowed a single to Jason Hagerty and then a two-run homer to Nate Freiman to straight-away center field to put Fort Wayne on top for the first time, 7-6.
That lead, as expected, was short-lived for Fort Wayne. In the top of the sixth, relief pitcher Matt Jackson came on to replace Watt. He recorded the first two outs without a problem but then fell into the same trap that Watt fell into. He grooved a fastball and Rogers belted a home run to right-center field for his second homer of the day, tying the game at 7-7.
It stayed that way through the next few frames as Colome worked the sixth without incident. He was replaced by lefty Aaron Dott, who worked a scoreless seventh and eighth to send the game into the ninth for Biell's heroics.
The winning rally began with one out as Brett Nommensen singled to center for his third base hit of the game. Ryan Wiegand followed with a single off closer Nick Shumacher to move Nommensen over to third with only one out. Biell came up next and hit a slow roller to first base. Freiman fielded the ball near the bag and could only retire Biell on the weak grounder, watching Nommensen score the go-ahead run.
In the last of the ninth, Dott came out to try and wrap up his three-inning relief stint, but he gave up a walk and a bunt single to the first two batters. After a strikeout of Hagerty, Freiman came up to face Dott. The lefty fell behind in the count when the TinCaps tried a double steal that ended in bizarre fashion. The runner at second base, Danny Payne, had third base stolen but overslid the bag and Kyle Spraker tagged him on the back foot for the second out of the inning.
Dott would end up giving Freiman an intentional walk to put runners at first and second. He then gave away to Jake Sullivan, who would have to face pinch-hitter Jon Alia. Sullivan made quick work of Alia, striking him out on four pitches to end the ball game for his first save of 2010.
While Biell had the game-winning RBI, the story of the game was Rogers, who made his Hot Rods debut one to remember. The left-handed hitter stroked two home runs to go along with a double and single in his first four at-bats. All four hits drove in a run before Rogers ended his day with a strikeout in the eighth inning. He joins former Hot Rods Tim Beckham as the only players in team history to homer for their first Hot Rods hit.
The teams now wrap up their third series to begin the second half on Tuesday night at Parkview Field. LHP Kyle Lobstein (5-4, 4.38) takes the ball against LHP Jose De Paula (4-2, 1.65). It's the third meeting between these two pitchers to start the second half of the season. Each lefty has led their team to a win in the previous two meetings. First pitch is at 7?05 PM. You can listen to the game with Tom Gauthier beginning at 1:50 CDT on 1340 AM WBGN and www.bghotrods.com.
The Hot Rods return home on Wednesday for a brief but action-packed home stand with the Dayton Dragons, the Midwest League affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. Wednesday night is Bark at the Ballpark Night presented by Hills Pet Nutrition. Fans can bring their dogs to the ballpark to watch the game with them beginning at 7:05 PM. For tickets and the complete list of upcoming promotions, visit www.bghotrods.com.