South Bend, IN – Joey Rickard drove in three runs and Jeff Ames hurled five impressive innings to lead the Bowling Green Hot Rods (1-0) to an 8-2, Opening Day victory over the South Bend Silver Hawks (0-1) on Thursday night at Coveleski Stadium. Bowling Green brought ten men to the plate in a five-run seventh inning to storm past the Silver Hawks. Reinaldo Lopez spun two scoreless innings of relief to pick up the win.
Both starters, Ames for Bowling Green and Jesse Darrah for South Bend, were able to dominate the early portion of the game. Darrah retired the first 12 men that faced, while Ames was not far behind, retiring his first ten men that he faced. Patrick Leonard’s double to leadoff the fifth inning was not only the first Hot Rod hit of the season, but it contributed to the Hot Rods first run. Luke Maile followed Leonard’s double by grounding a ball to third base. That ball was booted, and Leonard came in to score.
South Bend immediately tied the score on a Socrates Brito solo shot off Ames. Lopez escaped a jam in the bottom of the sixth, and the Hot Rods used that momentum to break the game open in the top of the seventh. After a Marty Gantt RBI-infield single, Rickard tripled home two runs. Later in the inning, Andrew Toles and Tyler Goeddel contributed by driving in a run each.
Firmly in control of the game, the Bowling Green offense added on two more runs in the top of the eighth inning on RBI-singles from Rickard and Leonard. Jose Molina pitched the final two frames for Bowling Green, allowing a lone run.
The Hot Rods are now 4-1 all-time on Opening Days and have now won two straight Opening Days against South Bend. Ames finished the night allowing just one run on two hits in five frames. Eight of nine Hot Rods starters recorded hits, and four players put together multi-hit games (Rickard, Toles, Leonard, Gantt).
Bowling Green and South Bend are back in action on Friday night at 6:35 PM CDT from Coveleski Stadium. The Forever Communications Pregame Show with Hank Fuerst begins at 6:05 PM CDT. Tune in to the broadcast on BGHotRods.com.
Citizens First Opening Night is Monday, April 8 at 7:05 PM at Bowling Green Ballpark as the fifth season of Hot Rods baseball in South Central Kentucky begins. Arrive early for a pregame T-Shirt giveaway, and stay afterwards for postgame fireworks.
To order tickets, call the Hot Rods at (270) 901-2121, visit the Hot Rods Ticket Office at Bowling Green Ballpark, or log on to BGHotRods.com.