(Asheville, NC) – Jake Jefferies homered and had three hits on Friday night as the Hot Rods wrapped up their seven game road trip with an 9-7 loss in Asheville, NC. The loss is particularly painful as the Hot Rods (21-18, 55-54) jumped out to a 5-0 lead but couldn’t hold on, losing three out of four to the first place Tourists (25-14, 51-57). The loss leaves Bowling Green four games out of first heading back home for an eight-game, nine-day home stand beginning on Saturday night.
Bowling Green opened the scoring in the top of the first inning, the fifth time they put up a first inning run against the Tourists this season. With two down, Jake Jefferies smacked an 0-1 fastball from starting pitcher Juan Nicasio over the 42-foot high wall in right-center for a solo home run. The blast, Jefferies eighth, gave the Hot Rods a 1-0 lead after three batters. It also gave the Hot Rods a two-out score, something that would happen quite often in the third.
In the third, the Hot Rods put together one of their best two-out rallies of the season as Tim Beckham reached on an infield single. He took second on a base hit by Jefferies and then scored on an RBI single from Mike Sheridan. Isaias Velasquez followed with a single to left to score Jefferies and advance Sheridan to third. Then, with Kyeong Kang batting, Velasquez took second on a wild pitch before he and Sheridan scored on another base hit to left from Kang to make it 5-0. The inning included five straight two-out hits, all to left field, to produce the four runs.
While it looked like the Hot Rods would cruise, Asheville had other thoughts. Kiel Roling hit a solo home run in the third inning, making it a 5-1 Hot Rods lead. The homer was the only blemish on Chris Andujar’s (ND) pitching line as the right hander turned in four solid innings, allowing one run on four hits, two walks, and four strikeouts.
Two innings later, facing Tyree Hayes, the Tourists came all the way back to tie the game. The first five men of the inning reach base while the first four came around to score on four hits, a walk, and a balk from Hayes. Jordan Pacheco picked up the first of his two RBI on the night with a double to right while Ryan Peisel tied the game in the frame with a two-run single to right center.
Hayes would leave after his one inning for Jamie Bagley (L; 2-4). The right-hander came on and, like Hayes, had immediate trouble mixed with a little bad luck. Carlos Martinez reached on an infield single in front of Scott Robinson’s seeing-eye single to left. On the next play, Delta Cleary laid down a bunt fielded by Mike Sheridan. Sheridan, however, tried to cut down the lead runner at third base but threw wildly into left field allowing Martinez to score, while advancing Robinson to third and Cleary to second. A wild pitch while Pacheco was batting scored Robinson before Pacheco lofted a sac fly to center to bring in the final run of the inning. Final totals in the inning read three runs, two earned, on two hits, an error, and a sac fly to give Asheville an 8-5 lead.
After Asheville scored a run in the eighth, the Hot Rods got two in the ninth courtesy of a two-run double by Tim Beckham. But closer Adam Jorgenson retired Jake Jefferies for the final out of the game and his 25th save.
Jefferies led the Hot Rods 13-hit attack with three hits, his seventh three-hit game of the season. Kyeong Kang added another base hit to extend his season-high hitting streak to ten games. Beckham, Velasquez, Estrada, and Sheridan also had multi-hit nights as the Hot Rods snapped a five-game stretch where they had six or fewer hits.
The Hot Rods now return home to begin an eight-game home stand on Saturday night at 7:05 PM. RHP Joe Cruz (4-6, 3.52) opens the series with the Greenville Drive (Boston Red Sox) against RHP Caleb Clay (4-4, 3.82).