(Bowling Green, KY) – Playing in front of 5,483 screaming fans, John Mollicone hit a three-run homer to lead the Hot Rods (31-30) to a 4-2 victory over Lexington (30-31) in the first game of a suspended game doubleheader on Friday night at Bowling Green Ballpark. Mollicone’s first homer of the year guaranteed the Hot Rods a series split with the Legends after Lexington rallied for 6-1 win. Despite the loss in the nightcap, the Hot Rods finished their home stand with a 3-2 record heading into their road trip of the first half of the season beginning Saturday night.
In the first game, originally started on Thursday night, the Hot Rods overcame a 2-0 deficit to grab a 4-3 win. Lexington scored single, unearned runs in the first inning on Thursday night and then in the third inning in the continuation on Friday. Thursday they scored against starting pitcher Nick Barnese (ND) while Tyree Hayes allowed the Friday run in relief of Barnese.
The Hot Rods took the lead in the last of the fourth inning. With one out, Mike McCormick and Justin Reynolds reached on consecutive singles, putting runners at first and second for John Mollicone. Serving as the DH in game one, Mollicone smacked a 3-2 fastball into the Hot Rods bullpen for a three-run homer, his first of the season, putting the Hot Rods on top 3-2. Mollicone would also score in the sixth inning to give the Hot Rods their final run of the game. “Molli” finished the game 2-2 with the homer, three RBI, two runs scored, a walk, and the title “Koch Air Hottest Hitter of the Game.”
Hayes (3-3) earned the win in the first game, relieving Barnese after the first inning. Hayes went four strong, allowed just one unearned run on three hits. He struck out two and did not walk a batter. Jamie Bagley followed with three perfect innings before Marquis Fleming closed the door with a scoreless ninth to earn his second save of the season.
In the nightcap, LHP Matt Moore (3-3) made his first start since throwing seven no-hit innings on Saturday night, a feat that helped him capture South Atlantic League Player of the Week honors. He would lose his no-hitter and shut-out in the top of the first inning on Friday night. Jay Austin had an infield single before Ebert Rosario drew a one-out walk. Austin scored on a Brian Pellegrini single to make it 1-0 Lexington. The Legends added another run on an RBI groundout from Michael Diaz.
Bowling Green cut the deficit in half in the first inning when Anthony Scelfo doubled, advanced to third on a groundout by Tim Beckham, and then scored on another groundout courtesy of Kyeong Kang.
That would be all the scoring for Bowling Green as they were shut down by spot-starter Brian Wabick (4-0). The right-hander threw 5.2 innings, allowed just one run on five hits, striking out five without issuing a walk. Wabick is now 2-0 in three appearances against the Hot Rods, having allowed just one run in 9.2 innings (0.93 ERA).
Moore took the loss for Bowling Green, falling to 3-3 on the season. He allowed a two-out RBI double to Eric Suttle in the second inning. Pellegrini then added the first of his two home runs on the night in the third, bumping the score to 4-1. Moore would end up going five innings, allowing four runs on five hits. He struck out seven and walk two.
The Hot Rods now begin their final road trip of the first half of the season, still trailing Charleston by five games in the South Atlantic League Southern Division. Saturday night they’ll play the first of a three-game series in South Carolina against the Greenville Drive. RHP Shane Dyer (1-3, 4.32) earns the start for the Hot Rods against RHP Brock Huntzinger (3-3, 4.17). First pitch is scheduled for 6 PM CDT. You can follow the action with Tom Gauthier on the radio beginning at 5:45 PM CDT at 1340 AM WBGN and www.bghotrods.com.
The Hot Rods return home for their final three-game home stand before the All-Star Break on Friday, June 19, against the Asheville Tourists. Join the Hot Rods for a weekend full of promotions, including Axle’s Birthday and Mascot Mania on Friday night. On Saturday, June 20, the first 1,000 fans 13 & older will receive the Fans Choice T-Shirt courtesy of First Choice Home Medical. Then, join the Hot Rods for a Father’s Day picnic on Sunday where you can enjoy a picnic with dad in the Home Run Grill, then play catch with him on the field after the game. For tickets and details visit www.bghotrods.com or head to the Hot Rods ticket office at the corner of 8th Avenue and Center Street in downtown Bowling Green.