(Asheville, NC) – After a season full of inconsistency with his fastball, Hot Rods Matt Moore had his trusty heater working at its peak on Saturday night as the Hot Rods (27-28) blew out the Asheville Tourists 10-2. Moore earned his third win of the season, striking out a career-high 12 in the process. The victory ensures the Hot Rods will win their second series of the season before they go for the three-game sweep of the Tourists on Sunday afternoon.
Before Moore (W; 3-2) even threw a pitch the Hot Rods ensured he was going to have a better-than-average chance at the victory. In the top of the first inning, Anthony Scelfo led off with a bunt single and then advanced to second base on a walk to Tim Beckham. Catcher Jake Jefferies came up and he put the Hot Rods on the board with a two-run double into the right field corner, giving him 30 RBI on the season, moving him into a tie for the team lead with Beckham.
Bowling Green would add two more runs in the inning as Kyeong Kang hit a fly ball double to left to score Jefferies. He would score two batters later when Henry Wrigley hit a double off the right-center field wall giving the Hot Rods a 4-0 edge.
Two innings later, after Moore had retired the first six men he faced, the Hot Rods added to their lead in historic fashion. Wrigley led off with his 15th double of the season, a ground ball tucked neatly inside the third base bag. Jason Tweedy walk before McCormick singled to left field to load the bases. That’s when Isaias Velasquez hit the first pitch he saw for a grand slam over the left-center field wall, bumping the Hot Rods margin to 8-0. The grand slam was the first in Hot Rods history, coming in their 48th at-bat with the bases loaded. It was also the first homer of the season for Velasquez, pushing his RBI total to 17 in the process.
At that point, it was all-but-over for the Tourists. Moore gave up a one-out walk in the third before striking out the next six batters he faced. He then gave up a one-out walk to Ryan Peisel in the fifth inning before setting down the final eight men that came to the plate between the fifth and seventh innings. He ended his outing after David Christensen, who moments before made a bid for extra bases that hooked foul in left field corner, flew out to left field for the final out of the seventh. In all, Moore struck out 12, walked two, allowed one runner to reach second base, and delivered a first-pitch strike to 19 of 23 Tourists he faced.
The Hot Rods would lose the no-hitter in the eighth as Neil Schenk gave up two base hits and allowed two unearned runs to scored with two down in the frame. He worked a perfect ninth to keep the Hot Rods on top by eight, their largest margin of victory in 2009.
Offensively, the Hot Rods had a strong team effort. Eight of the nine starters in the line-up scored runs while the only man who didn’t, Mike Sheridan, delivered a sacrifice fly for his 24th RBI on the year. Henry Wrigley picked up this third three-hit game of the season, delivering two doubles and an RBI. Mike McCormick belted his third homer of the season, a solo shot to lead off the fifth, as part of a two-hit night for him.
The Hot Rods will now go for the sweep on Sunday afternoon at McCormick Field in Asheville, NC. RHP Shane Dyer (1-3, 3.73) heads to the mound against Tourists’ righty Jonathan Airistil (0-1, 3.82). First pitch is at 1:05 PM CDT. You can follow the action with Tom Gauthier on 1340 WBGN and www.bghotrods.com beginning at 12:50 PM CDT.
The Hot Rods return home after the trip to Asheville on Monday night for Military Night presented by No. 1 Country Beaver 96.7 FM. For tickets, visit www.bghotrods.com or head to the Hot Rods ticket office at the corner of 8th Avenue and Center Street at Bowling Green Ballpark.