(Lakewood, NJ) - Mike Sheridan's two-run home run in the ninth inning capped off a wild offensive game as the Hot Rods (13-7, 46-42) beat the Lakewood BlueClaws (11-10, 53-36) 14-11 on Thursday night in New Jersey. The win gives the Hot Rods a split of the four-game series in Lakewood before opening a four-game series on Friday night at Delmarva.
Bowling Green began their offensive outburst trailing 1-0 in the top of the second inning against Justin De Fratus. Kyeong Kang singled and Isaias Velasquez doubled to lead off the inning. Kang tied the game at 1-1 scoring on a single to center by Mike Sheridan. After Jason Corder popped out, Jason Tweedy hit a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Velasquez to make it 2-1 Bowling Green. Tyler Hauschild followed with a single to right to put runners at first and second. That's when Anthony Scelfo smoked a triple to center field to bump the lead to 4-1 while extending his RBI streak to five games with seven total RBI. He would then score a few pitches later on a wild pitch to push the lead to 5-1.
The offense continue to pour in during a four-run second inning. With one out, Kang belted his third home run to right field, a solo shot for a 6-1 lead. Three batters later Corder launched one over the fence in left field for a three-run shot and a 9-1 lead. The homer was the first for Corder since coming off the disabled list and his first since a long ball at Bowling Green Ballpark on April 28.
After Lakewood scored a run in the fourth to make it 9-2 the Hot Rods added a run in the sixth on an RBI double by Tim Beckham before getting two more in the seventh on a bases loaded fielder's choice by Tweedy followed by a wild pitch to score Velasquez. After six and a half innings the Hot Rods had a 12-2 lead before turning the ball over to the bullpen after a solid start by Joe Cruz (4-4). The right-hander allowed just one earned run over six innings. He scattered eight hits, striking out five, and walking just one.
That 12-2 lead, however, was almost not enough. Lakewood score six runs in the seventh inning thanks to an RBI single by Travis d'Arnaud and a three-run triple from Zach Collier, both against Michael Jarman. Two more runs scored after a pitching change brought on Jamie Bagley and he gave up an inside-the-park home run to Vladimir De Los Santos to cut the lead to 12-8.
The BlueClaws tacked on three more runs in the last of the eighth inning against Bagley. A lead-off single followed by a walk led to a one-out, three-run homer by Jeremy Hamilton to slice the lead to just one run at 12-11. Bagley would walk one more before giving way to Neil Schenk, who got out of the inning with the tying run at second base. Over two frames the BlueClaws scored nine times on six hits and four walks, raising heart beats across Hot Rods Nation.
Those heart beats settled in the top of the ninth, however, as the middle of the order struck once again for the Hot Rods. Velasquez started the inning with a single to center field, his fourth hit of the game. He then trotted home when Sheridan belted his 12th home run into the grass berm beyond the right field wall to give the Hot Rods a three-run cushion at 14-11. The homer was Sheridan's second of the series and raised his RBI total to seven against the BlueClaws.
The 14 runs on 16 hits were both season highs for the Hot Rods, who also picked up their second three-homer game as a squad. Velasquez led the charge with four hits and a team-high four runs scored. Kang scored three times while Tyler Hauschild picked up two hits and a pair of runs. Tweedy also finished with 2 RBI, his first in the second half.
After splitting four games with Lakewood the Hot Rods now head to Maryland to begin a four-game series with the Delmarva Shorebirds. LHP Frank De Los Santos (4-6, 3.74) opens the series for the Hot Rods against Delmarva lefty Chris Salberg (2-1, 3.63). First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 PM CDT.