(Greenville, SC) – The Hot Rods scored three times in the seventh inning to erase a 4-1 deficit to the Greenville Drive on Sunday afternoon, but the bullpen couldn’t hold the lead as Greenville rallied back for a 6-4 win. The loss is the third straight for the Hot Rods as they have now dropped the first two games of this series heading into the finale on Monday night.
Before Greenville scored the winning runs in the last of the seventh, the Hot Rods erased a 4-1 deficit against reliever Fabian Williamson (W; 5-2). The first three men all reached base as Mike McCormick doubled, Jeremy Beckham singled, and Anthony Scelfo loaded the bases by reaching on an error.
The fourth man of the inning would make Williamson pay as Tim Beckham smacked a two-run double into the left field corner to pull the Hot Rods within a run. The RBI’s were Beckham’s 32nd and 33rd, momentarily putting him in the team lead. He would be joined by Jake Jefferies a few moments later as the Hot Rods DH, who had an RBI earlier in the game, drove in Scelfo with a single to left field evening the game at 4-4.
At that point, the first give men had reached and it looked like the Hot Rods would take the with runners at first and third and no one out. However, Kyeong Kang struck out while Mike Sheridan was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Williamson then got out of the inning by striking out Isaias Velasquez and retiring Jason Tweedy on an infield pop-up with the bases full.
The Hot Rods would pay for their inability to take the lead as Tim Federowicz led off the bottom of the seventh with an infield single. The very next pitch from Michael Jarman (L; 4-5) would be hit out of the ballpark by first baseman Anthony Rizzo, a two-run shot to give the Drive a 6-4 lead they would not give up.
The Hot Rods had their chance to tie the game in the eighth, putting runners at first and third with only one out. But, facing reliever Mitch Herold, Tim Beckham bounced into a force-out and Jake Jefferies grounded to second to end the Hot Rods best chance.
It was a day of missed opportunities for the Hot Rods as they had men on base in every inning except the fifth and ninth innings. They stranded two in the first with only one out. They also stranded two more in the sixth, leaving runners at second and third with one down again. On the day they left 11 on base, seven of those runners in scoring position. As a team they went 4-15 with men in scoring position.
Beckham and Jefferies were the bright spots for the Hot Rods, each delivering three this and two RBI. Beckham finished with two doubles, taking over the team lead. Jefferies had three singles, all base hits to left field.
The series comes to an end on Monday night with RHP Joe Cruz (2-2, 2.61) facing Greenville RHP Stephen Fife (0-1, 0.64). First pitch from Fluor Field is scheduled for 6:05 PM CDT. You can follow the action with Tom Gauthier on the radio beginning at 5:50 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.