Bowling Green, KY – Marty Gantt’s phenomenal all-around performance sparked a 5-3 victory for the Bowling Green Hot Rods (29-19) over the Fort Wayne TinCaps (25-22) at Bowling Green Ballpark on Saturday. Gantt collected a career-high four hits and three steals while recording a home run in the eighth inning and a tough running catch that prevented a TinCap run from tying the game in the fifth.
Fort Wayne opened the contest with the lead after a blast from Mallex Smith. Smith drove the second pitch of the game from RHP Eduar Quinonez off the scoreboard in right-center field for a quick 1-0 advantage. The TinCaps loaded the bases in the second inning but could not add to the lead with Tommy Coyle, Leonardo Reginatto, and Ryan Dunn turning a double play to end the threat.
The Hot Rods evened the game in the third inning and took the lead in the fourth. Joey Rickard brought in Andrew Toles on an infield single during the third, making the score 1-1. In the next frame, Gantt and Reginatto reached safely ahead of Granden Goetzman. The Hot Rods designated hitter drove a double to the left field wall to give Bowling Green a 3-1 edge on Fort Wayne.
Alberth Martinez answered back with a one-out, one-run double in the fifth to cut the Hot Rods lead down to 3-2. Two batters later, Maxx Tissenbaum hit a fly ball deep to left field that Marty Gantt corralled at the warning track that kept Bowling Green in the lead. More great defense in the seventh prevented more runs from scoring as Coyle, Reginatto, and Dunn teamed up on another double play to end the inning.
Gantt’s big game ended with a bang in the bottom of the eighth inning. With Luke Maile representing an important insurance run at third base, Gantt hit a high line drive to right-center field that carried over the wall for his team-leading fifth home run of the season. The 5-2 lead was cut down on a solo home run from Fort Wayne’s Stephen Carmon in the ninth, but that was all the Hot Rods would allow.
Other great performances in the victory came from RHP Reinaldo Lopez and a trio of Hot Rods runners. Lopez relieved Quinonez and earned his first save of the season with four strong innings to complete the game. Joey Rickard, Andrew Toles, and Gantt combined for seven stolen bases, the highest amount for the Hot Rods since a team-record eight swipes last month against Fort Wayne.
Game two of the three-game series will be played at 2:05 PM CDT Sunday afternoon at Bowling Green Ballpark. A pair of former first round draft picks will take the mound as Hot Rods RHP Taylor Guerrieri (3-1, 1.64) faces TinCaps RHP Joe Ross (3-1, 3.02). Tune in to the game on 1340 "The Ticket” WBGN-AM and online at 1340WBGN.com with Hank Fuerst starting the Forever Communications Pregame Show at 1:35 PM CDT.
Sunday afternoon is a Kid’s Club Day at Bowling Green Ballpark, featuring the traditional Sunday Smucker’s Uncrustables Fun Run and an opportunity to learn about the MiLB Take 25 Program, encouraging parents to spend 25 minutes with their children talking about safety. For more information and to secure your tickets, call the Hot Rods at (270) 901-2121 or visit BGHotRods.com.