Eastlake, Ohio – A four-run spurt early on in the ballgame allowed the Lake County Captains (Class-A/Cleveland Indians) to take the opener of a three-game set from the Bowling Green Hot Rods (Tampa Bay Rays) on Friday night, 8-1. The Hot Rods fall to 2-2 on the current road trip with the loss.
Lake County opened up a four-run lead in the bottom of the third. Brian Ruiz led off with a single, and he would score from first base on a double by Claudio Bautista. After Ivan Castillo was hit by a pitch, Clint Frazier singled through the left side to drive home Bautista. Paul Hendrix was then walked to load the bases, and Nellie Rodriguez capped the inning with a two-run double into the left-field corner. Andrew Hanse got the Hot Rods out of the frame without further damage, as he inherited runners at second and third with one out, but he stranded both runners.
The Captains added another run in the fourth as a wild pitch and passed ball allowed Bautista to cross, and the lead expanded to 7-0 with a pair of runs in the sixth. Dorssys Paulino and Richard Stock reached on errors to start the inning, and Paulino scored on Bautista’s single to left field. A throwing error from Hanse then allowed Stock to cross.
The Hot Rods got on the board in the top of the seventh as Julian Ridings led off with a double. He would come around to score when Pat Blair reached on a fielder’s choice later in the inning. However, that run was pulled back in the bottom of the seventh when Rodriguez hit a two-out solo home run to right field, his 18th of the season. It gave the game its final score of 8-1 in favor of Lake County.
Mitch Brown (4-8) worked five innings, and got the win despite struggling with his command. He walked four batters, but held the Hot Rods to just three hits.
D.J. Slaton (0-2) allowed four runs and was removed in the third to take the loss. Hanse set a new season-high with six strikeouts in three and two-thirds innings of relief.
Bowling Green will look to level the series on Saturday night, and first pitch is set for 6:00 p.m. CT. The Pepsi Pre-Game Show will begin at 5:45 p.m. CT on the radio home of the Hot Rods, 1340 WBGN – The Ticket. The Hot Rods will return to Bowling Green on Monday, August 4, and tickets are available for the six-game homestand. Fans can logon to BGHotRods.com, call 270-901-2121, or stop by the Bowling Green Ballpark box office for more information.