(Bowling Green, KY) – Anthony Scelfo homered twice while John Mollicone belted a three-run bomb to lead the Hot Rods (16-10, 50-46) past the Hagerstown Suns 10-5 on Thursday night at Bowling Green Ballpark. The victory pushed the Hot Rods back into a first-place tie with Asheville thanks to the Tourists’ fourth straight loss. It also evens the Hot Rods with the Suns (9-18, 40-54) heading into the third game on Friday night.
Scelfo’s first home run came as part of a two-run second inning with the Hot Rods trailing 1-0. Justin Reynolds led off with a double, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and then tied the game on an RBI ground out from Robi Estrada. A few pitches later, Scelfo hit one deep but foul down the right field line, barely missing a homer. He would straighten one out a few pitches after that, smoking one over the video board structure in right field to give the Hot Rods a 2-1 lead. The homer was his first in 99 at-bats, with the last homer also clearing the video board on June 21 against Asheville.
Mollicone’s home run came in the last of the fourth inning after Hagerstown tied it in the top half of the inning. Still facing starter Patrick Arnold, the Hot Rods got a lead double by Isaias Velasquez followed by a single from Mike Sheridan to put runners at first and third for Mollicone. He then delivered a three-run bomb on a 3-1 pitch into the alley way in left-center field, pushing the Hot Rods to a 5-2 lead. It was Mollicone’s fifth of the season, his first since July 1 at Rome.
Hagerstown wouldn’t go away, however, scoring three more runs in the top of the fifth to tie the game against Frank De Los Santos (ND). Frankie allowed the first two base runners to reach in the frame before retiring Steve Lombardozzi for the first out. He then walked Derek Norris, his fifth of the game to set a new career-high. That would be the end of his night after 4.1 innings, allowing three hits and five walks while striking out three. De Los Santos would eventually be charged with five earned runs as all three runners he left on in the fifth would score against Neil Schenk.
The Hot Rods came right back in their half of the fifth to re-take the lead. Tim Beckham drew a lead-off walk, advanced to second on a passed ball. He took third on a single from Jake Jefferies and then scored on a wild pitch by reliever Austin Garrett (L; 3-3) to give Bowling Green a 6-5 lead.
The Hot Rods added to the lead in the sixth inning thanks again to Beckham. With one out Robi Estrada was walked by Kevin Light before Scelfo was hit on the left elbow to advance to first. That’s when Beckham drilled his 23rd double into the left field corner, scoring both runners for an 8-5 lead. The double gave Beckham his 5th and 6th RBI of the series, bumping his team-leading total to 54 on the season.
Two innings later, Scelfo would strike for the second time. Reynolds led off the eighth with his second double of the game. He went to third on a ground out before trotting home on another Scelfo homer, this one hitting the video board in right field. Scelfo finished the game with two homers, three hits, and three RBI while also scoring three runs. He also extended his hitting streak to six games while joining Mollicone as the only Hot Rods with multi-homer games.
The power surge was more than enough for the Hot Rods bullpen. After Schenk allowed the inherited runners to score he allowed just one base runner the rest of the way on an eighth inning walk. He finished 3.2 innings to earn his third win (3-2) of the season. He allowed just one hit, walked one, and struck out two. He was followed up by Josh Satow who worked a scoreless ninth for the win.
The series continues on Friday night at Bowling Green Ballpark. RHP Nick Barnese (4-3, 2.03) goes for Bowling Green against Hagerstown’s RHP Paul Demny (2-8, 5.61). First pitch is at 7:05 PM. Gates open at 5:30 PM for season ticket holders and 6 PM for the general public. After the game, stick around for post game fireworks presented by Atmos Energy and WBKO.