astlake, OH - Drew Vettleson hit his team-leading fifteenth home run of the season, but the Bowling Green Hot Rods (40-25, 78-57) fell to the Lake County Captains (36-29, 67-67) 7-2 on Wednesday night at Classic Park in the first of a three-game series. Cameron Seitzer and Juniel Querecuto each had two hits, but Bowling Green's road winning streak, dating back to August 13, ended at eight. A potential first-round playoff matchup for the Hot Rods, the Captains won for just the third time in their last seven games.
Bowling Green did not record their first hit until the top of the sixth inning, but a Querecuto single and a Taylor Motter double with one out thrust the Hot Rods into a scoring threat. However, Jake Hager and Kes Carter lined out to end the inning. Not being able to break the 0-0 tie hurt the Hot Rods, who saw the Captains use two-out triples in the sixth and seventh innings to take a 4-0 lead.
Singles by Seitzer and Querecuto, as well as a Motter walk, loaded the bases with one out in the top of the eighth, and the Hot Rods threatened again with one out. Carter singled through the hole at shortstop to put the Hot Rods on the scoreboard. The next batter was Hager, who grounded out into a double play started by Indians top prospect Francisco Lindor.
Lake County added three runs in the bottom of the eighth, capped on a two-run home run from Alex Lavisky. Vettleson homered on the first pitch in the top of the ninth to take over the team lead with 15 home runs, but the Hot Rods could not rally any further in the ninth, dropping the contest 7-2.
The Captains win, accompanied with a Fort Wayne loss, moves Lake County into a position to host the Hot Rods in the first round of the playoffs one week from Wednesday. With five games to play, Lake County has the best shot among three teams to take on the Hot Rods in the first round.
The seven-game road trip continues on Thursday night at Classic Park for the middle game of the three-game set, featuring a 6:00 PM CDT first pitch. Bowling Green will give the start to LHP Sean Bierman (1-0, 1.80), while the Captains will counter with LHP Shawn Morimando (6-6, 3.76).