(Bowling Green, KY) – Robi Estrada delivered a three-run, bases-loaded double while Anthony Scelfo delivered three more hits, but the Hot Rods fell short in both games of a doubleheader on Thursday night, losing 7-3 and 9-6 to the Lexington Legends at Bowling Green Ballpark. The Hot Rods (25-28) fall back to three games below .500 after losing a 5-1 lead in the second game of the twin bill. They finished their home stand with a 2-5 record and are now headed to Asheville, NC to open a series with the Tourists on Friday night.
Before the Hot Rods loaded the bus, however, it looked like they were going to do so riding high after a series victory over their in-state rivals. After losing game one, Scelfo started the Hot Rods off in game two with a lead-off walk, and while he would be erased in a force-out, the Hot Rods eventually scored on a single by Mike Sheridan to grab a 1-0 lead.
After Lexington tied it in the second, the Hot Rods came storming back in their half of the second inning, scoring four runs, highlighted by a bases-loaded three-run double by Robi Estrada. The base hit gave Robi his fifth base knock of the home stand to go along with a total of four RBI. He scored a few batters later when Scelfo reached on a bunt single and then went to second after an error by starting pitcher Arcenio Leon (ND).
The Hot Rods 5-1 lead would last until the top of the sixth inning as starter Joe Cruz (ND) was dominating through the first five. He had allowed just one run on two hits and a walk before trouble began in the sixth.
It started with a lead-off homer by Michael Diaz. Eric Suttle singled and then was brought home on a triple to left field by Steve Brown. Two batters later Brown scored on an infield single by Ebert Rosario that hit Cruz in the left wrist, forcing him from the game after 5.1 innings. Marquis Fleming (L; 1-2) would come on in a 5-4 game and would immediately give up the go-ahead two-run homer to Brandon Barnes, his second homer of the game, to give the Legends a 6-5 lead. One more run cross in the inning to give the Legends a six-run frame, highlighted by the homer from Barnes.
Bowling Green scored one more late run in the seventh, on an RBI double by John Mollicone, but they could get no closer, losing by a 9-6 final.
In game one of the twin bill, the Legends capitalized on their second time through the line-up, scoring five runs in the fourth inning against Frank De Los Santos (L; 3-4). Facing De Los Santos for the second time in the game, the Legends pounded out six hits in the inning, scoring five times before De Los Santos recorded an out. Brandon Barnes and Kyle Miller had the big hits in the inning, delivering a two-run double and a two-run single, respectively.
De Los Santos would be pulled after he retired the eighth man of the inning. His final line was a crooked one, as he went a season-low 3.1 innings and allowed season highs with seven hits and five runs. Over his last three starts, De Los Santos has had one bad inning in each of those games. Between the first inning on May 23 and May 29 and the fourth inning of June 4, De Los Santos has allowed 10 runs on 11 hits, including two home runs.
The Hot Rods tried to rally after trailing entering the last of the fifth inning. They scored one run in that frame on an RBI single by Mike Sheridan that hit the first base bag to plate Jake Jefferies. In the seventh, they scored two runs on consecutive doubles by Anthony Scelfo and Tim Beckham, cutting the deficit to 7-3.
Kyle Greenwalt (3-5) earned the win for the Legends in game one, lasting 6.2 innings before giving way to Ashton Mowdy, who recorded the final out in the seventh. The win is the first for Greenwalt since he beat the Hot Rods on April 25 in Lexington. In two starts against Bowling Green, Greenwalt is 2-0, having surrendered just four runs over 12.2 innings (2.84 ERA).
Scelfo, the Koch Air Hottest Pitcher, finished the doubleheader with three hits, including two in game one. He ended up going 6-10 with two triples, a double, and two RBI.
After a 2-5 home stand, the Hot Rods begin a short three-game road trip against the Asheville Tourists on Friday night in North Carolina. New Hot Rods pitcher Nick Barnese will make his 2009 debut against Asheville RHP Dan Houston (1-3, 5.44). Barnese will be officially added to the Hot Rods roster on Friday when the Tampa Bay Rays announce the corresponding move. First pitch on Friday night is at 6:05 PM CDT.