South Bend, Ind. – A five-run surge in the sixth inning vaulted the Bowling Green Hot Rods (Class-A/Tampa Bay Rays) past the South Bend Silver Hawks (Arizona Diamondbacks) on Wednesday night, 6-2. With the Dayton Dragons (Cincinnati Reds) losing as well, the Hot Rods pulled to within just one half of a game for the final playoff spot.
Trailing 2-1, the sixth inning began with a first-pitch single by Willy Adames, which extended his hitting streak to seven games. He then stole second, and scored to tie the game when Kean Wong hit a chopper that went over Joe Munoz’s head at third base. Wong would be thrown out at second trying to leg out a double, but Pat Blair kept the pressure on by reaching on an error. That setup Alexander Simon, who clubbed a home run over the right-field wall to give the Hot Rods the 4-2 advantage.
Elias Torres and James Harris followed with a single and double respectively, and Armando Araiza capped the inning with a two-run single to center field. Bowling Green led 6-2, which ended as the game’s final score.
Things did not start well for the Hot Rods, as South Bend plated two in the first. They loaded the bases with nobody out, but starter Jake Faria was able to limit the damage. A sacrifice fly by Joe Munoz and a fielder’s choice by Justin Williams were the only two runs South Bend would score in the entire contest.
In Dayton Ohio, the Lansing Lugnuts (Toronto Blue Jays) buoyed the Hot Rods’ playoff chances with their 3-2 comeback victory. The Dragons’ loss means a Hot Rods win and Dayton loss Thursday night would put Bowling Green into the driver’s seat in the Eastern Division.
Stone Speer (6-2) was phenomenal out of the Hot Rods bullpen to earn the victory. He faced the minimum over four innings, and allowed just one hit while striking out four. The effort lowered his earned run average to 3.29 for the year.
Sean Furney (8-8) started for South Bend and allowed all six runs in the sixth to be handed the loss.
Bowling Green will look to keep the heat on the Dragons when they play game two of a three-game set on Thursday night against South Bend. First pitch will be tossed at 6:05 p.m. CT. on 1340 WBGN – The Ticket, and the Pepsi Pre-Game Show will commence at 5:50 p.m. CT. The Hot Rods return to Bowling Green Ballpark for the final three regular-season games of the campaign on Saturday, August 30. For tickets and more information on the club, fans can logon to BGHotRods.com, call 270-901-2121, or visit the Bowling Green Ballpark box office.