(Bowling Green, KY) – Anthony Scelfo hit a lead-off homer in the bottom of the first to supply RHP Nick Barnese with all the offensive support he would need in a 2-0 Hot Rods win Sunday afternoon against the Asheville Tourists. Barnese’s first victory of the season gave the Hot Rods a series-clinching win against Asheville (26-43) to end the first half of the regular season. Bowling Green now heads to the All-Star Break with a two-game winning streak, leaving their first-half record at 34-36.
The story of the game was Nick Barnese, who earned his first victory in his fourth start of the season. He worked seven shutout innings allowing just two base runners in the game. The first came on a one-out error in the top of the second by Tim Beckham. The other came on the Tourists’ only hit of the game, an infield single by Beau Seabury with two outs in the fifth. Barnese would strike out six without issuing a walk, improving to 1-1 on the year. In two starts against Asheville he has allowed just one run on five hits over 12 innings, striking out a 13 without a walk in those outings.
The Hot Rods opened the scoring right away in the bottom of the first inning. Lead-off hitter Anthony Scelfo launched an 0-1 pitch over the video board structure in right field, giving the Hot Rods a 1-0 lead on his second home run of the season. The homer was his first in a span of 167 at-bats dating back to April 26 in Lexington.
Bowling Green added a run in the last of the seventh inning against Houston. With one out, Kyeong Kang singled through the hole in the left side of the infield, putting a man on for Isaias Velasquez. The Hot Rods second baseman laid down a perfect bunt up the third base line for an infield single. On the play, however, third baseman David Peisel threw the ball away to first base, rolling it down the right field line. That allowed Kang to motor from second all the way home for a 2-0 Hot Rods lead.
Dan Houston took the loss for Asheville, falling to 2-6. The right hander pitched well, however, allowing just one earned run over seven innings of work. He surrendered a total of three hits, striking out three and walking one. Before the Hot Rods mounted their one-out rally in the seventh Houston had retired 14 straight Bowling Green hitters.
The Hot Rods will now take Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday off for the 2009 All-Star Break. The All-Star Game will be held at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston, WV on Tuesday night. Hot Rods Tim Beckham and Chris Andujar will represent Bowling Green on the Southern Division team, with Beckham drawing the start at shortstop. You can follow the game by visiting www.bghotrods.com on Tuesday night.
The second half of the season begins on Thursday night as the Hot Rods make their final trip to Lexington to visit their in-state rival, the Legends. First pitch on Thursday night is 6:05 PM CDT. You can follow the action on the radio with Tom Gauthier beginning at 5:50 PM CDT at 1340 WBGN and www.bghotrods.com.
The Hot Rods return home to begin their next home stand at Bowling Green Ballpark on July 4. Join the Hot Rods for an Independence Day extravaganza featuring baseball and post-game fireworks presented by WBKO. First pitch on July 4 is 7:05 PM CDT. For tickets and a list of promotions for the next Hot Rods home stand, visit www.bghotrods.com or stop by the Hot Rods ticket office at the corner of 8th Avenue and Center Street at Bowling Green Ballpark.