(Salisbury, MD) - Frank De Los Santos threw a gem of a ball game on Friday night against the Delmarva Shorebirds. However, the lefty was denied his fifth win of the season when the Hot Rods bullpen had another ninth inning collapse in a 2-1 loss to open a four-game series. The loss is the second walk-off loss of the road trip for Bowling Green (13-8, 47-44), leaving them with a 13-8 second half record, two games behind Asheville in the Southern Division.
The Shorebirds picked up their fifth straight victory against Marquis Fleming, overcoming a 1-0 deficit to begin the frame. The right-hander came on and walked the first two batters of the inning in Joe Mahoney and Ron Welty. A sacrifice bunt moved both runners up 90 feet before Fleming retired Tyler Kolodny on a groundout to third for the second out of the inning. That's when Fleming's command deserted him again as he hit L.J. Hoes to load the bases. He then issued a walk to the No. 8 hitter Jacob Julius to force in Mahoney to tie the game at 1-1. Pinch-hitter Greg Miclat was next, hitting for catcher Luis Bernardo. He lined a single to shallow center field to drive in the winning run in the 2-1 contest.
The loss is the second straight for Fleming, who allowed three runs in the ninth inning of a 4-3 loss at Lakewood on Wednesday. The normally reliable righty has seen his command falter in his last two outings, issuing two walks on Wednesday before another three in the ninth on Friday. He is now 1-5 with an ERA of 2.18.
De Los Santos turned in one of his best outings of the season, continuing a strong month of July and a string of solid starts against Northern Division teams. The lefty surrendered just three hits over seven shutout frames. He struck out five, the second highest total of the season, while walking just one. The Shorebirds were 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position against De Los Santos. Only one runner reached third base while the Shorebirds were held hitless in four at-bats with runners in scoring position.
The Hot Rods broke a scoreless tie by picking up a run in the second inning thanks to Delmarva's inability to turn a double play. Kyeong Kang and Isaias Velasquez drew back-to-back walks to begin the frame. Mike Sheridan than bounced a 3-2 pitch right to the pitcher Salberg. He made a good throw to second base to retire Velasquez but the shortstop couldn't get the ball out of his glove, allowing Sheridan to reach on the fielder's choice. With runners at first and third Justin Reynolds hit a potential double play ball to short, but the second baseman's throw was high and wide to first, allowing Kang to score from third for the 1-0 lead.
The series continues on Saturday night at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium in Maryland. RHP Nick Barnese (4-2, 2.11) draws the start against Delmarva lefty Nathan Moreau (3-2, 3.70). First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 PM CDT.