Fort Wayne, Ind. – Two runs in the top of the first inning fueled a good start for the Bowling Green Hot Rods (Class-A/Tampa Bay Rays) on Saturday night, but the Fort Wayne TinCaps (San Diego Padres) survived the early runs and used a four-run third inning to level the series, 8-4.
Bowling Green got the scoring started with a pair of runs in the first. Spencer Edwards led off with a single, and Kean Wong followed with a double to the right-center field gap. Center fielder Mallex Smith misplayed the ball, and Edwards was able to score while Wong moved to third base. Johnny Field sliced a double to right-center field to drive home Wong and complete the top of the first’s scoring.
That new-found lead did not last long as Fort Wayne tied the game in the bottom of the first. Smith tripled with one out to center, and scored when Dustin Peterson doubled. One out later, Franmil Reyes sent Peterson home with a single of his own, knotting the game at two.
An error helped the Hot Rods go back in front in the second. Pat Blair started the rally with a walk and moved to second base when Juniel Querecuto singled. Two outs later, Edwards hit a groundball to shortstop River Stevens that he wasn’t able to glove, and the error allowed Blair to score and it moved Querecuto to third base. Wong then laid down a perfect bunt down the third-base line to drive home Querecuto, and give the Hot Rods a new 4-2 lead.
The four-run third inning proved to be the difference for the TinCaps. Ronnie Richardson led off with a walk, and moved up to third base on a single by Smith. Peterson then doubled them both home. Perez hit a sharp single to center to score Peterson, and Stevens atoned for his miscue with a run-scoring hit to close out the inning. Fort Wayne led 6-4 after three innings of play.
Two more runs crossed as Fort Wayne added insurance to their lead in the fourth. Richardson doubled and moved to third on a bunt by Smith to immediately apply pressure. After Peterson walked, Perez doubled into the right-center field gap to score both Richardson and Peterson. That proved to be the game’s final scoring in Fort Wayne’s 8-4 triumph.
Payton Baskette (2-3) conceded 11 base runners, but he picked up the win. Baskette allowed four runs on eight hits while walking three. The Fort Wayne bullpen combined to toss three and two-thirds scoreless innings.
Ryne Stanek (3-3) had his winning streak snapped at three, as he allowed six runs before being removed in the third. It was a rare outing for the Midwest League All-Star who entered play with an earned run average of 2.16. Aaron Griffin hurled three and two-thirds innings out of the bullpen, and Brad Schreiber struck out five of the six batters he retired to finish the game for Bowling Green.
The Hot Rods will go for the series victory and close out the first half on Sunday afternoon with Fort Wayne. First pitch is scheduled for 12:05 p.m. CT, and fans can follow the action on 1340 WBGN – The Ticket beginning with the Pepsi Pre-Game Show at 11:50 a.m. CT. Baseball will return to Bowling Green Ballpark on Tuesday, June 24, when the Hot Rods host Lake County (Cleveland Indians). For tickets and more information, fans can visit BGHotRods.com, call 270-901-2121, or stop by the Bowling Green Ballpark box office.