Clinton, IA - After a three-run outburst in the seventh inning, the Bowling Green Hot Rods (19-9) outlasted the Clinton LumberKings (12-14) by a final of 3-2 in the series opener at Ashford University Field on Saturday. Granden Goetzman's two-run home run down the left field line brought in the winning run. LHP Brandon Henderson earned the win in relief, his first in a Hot Rods uniform.
Bowling Green RHP Eduar Quinonez and Clinton RHP Dylan Unsworth put zeroes on the board into the middle of the contest. Only three Hot Rods baserunners reached successfully against Unsworth in his fourth consecutive quality start. Quinonez got into a minor jam in the fifth but escaped with a double play from second baseman Tommy Coyle and first baseman Ryan Dunn.
Clinton broke through in the bottom of the sixth to end Quinonez's evening. Ketel Marte walked at the start of the frame. After stealing second and third base, Marte's presence at third brought the Hot Rods infield in. Patrick Kivlehan bounced a grounder past shortstop Tyler Goeddel to bring in Marte for a LumberKings lead. Henderson finished the inning without any more scoring from Clinton.
That lead was short-lived as the Hot Rods delivered three runs to take the lead for themselves. Luke Maile singled and stole second before he scored on an RBI double by Marty Gantt that tied the contest. With Gantt aboard, Goetzman fouled off three straight pitches while down one ball and two strikes. Goetzman's next swing was a deep fly ball to left field that cleared the wall just within fair territory. The home run was Goetzman's first as a Hot Rod and his second as a professional player.
The defense and pitching held ground and protected the lead through the end of the game. Patrick Leonard made strong plays at third base, including a diving catch on a line drive from Dario Pizzano in the seventh inning. Henderson kept the LumberKings scoreless until the ninth when he gave up an RBI single to Tyler Marlette to cut the lead to 3-2. RHP Nick Sawyer relieved Henderson, walked a batter to load the bases, and struck out Brock Hebert on a full count for the game-ending out.
The Hot Rods can claim a series win with a victory against Clinton on Sunday. Game two of the series will start at 2:00 PM CDT with Bowling Green RHP Taylor Guerrieri (1-0, 2.12) opposing LHP Scott DeCecco (2-3, 3.21). Chris Kleinhans-Schulz will lead the broadcast with the Forever Communications Pregame Show at 1:30 PM CDT. Tune in to contest on 1340 "The Ticket" WBGN-AM, 1340WBGN.com, and BGHotRods.com.
Bowling Green Ballpark will host Hot Rods baseball next week with a six-game homestand starting on Wednesday, May 8. The Hot Rods open the homestand against the West Michigan Whitecaps at 7:05 PM CDT. Be sure to visit BGHotRods.com for the latest news on the Hot Rods, ticket information, and promotional features for upcoming home games at Bowling Green Ballpark.