BOWLING GREEN, Ky. -- Johnny Field blasted a two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to send the Bowling Green Hot Rods (Class-A/Tampa Bay Rays) to a walk-off victory over the West Michigan Whitecaps (Detroit Tigers) on Wednesday night. The Hot Rods once trailed 3-0 in the game, but chipped away at the lead before walking off for the fourth time this season.
The bottom of the ninth began with a line-drive single by Kean Wong into left field. Field then stepped to the plate against Joe Mantiply, and fouled off several 0-2 pitches. With the count 1-2, Field connected on a fastball and sent it into the right-field bullpen for the walk-off home run. Field tossed his helmet as his teammates celebrated the victory around him at home plate.
The comeback began in the bottom of the fourth with Bowling Green trailing, 3-0. Wong started that rally as well with a single, and he moved to third base when Field singled through the right side. Oscar Hernandez then grounded out to third base, scoring Wong and moving Field to third base. Ty Young capped the inning with a single off his college teammate at the University of Louisville, Chad Green. It scored Field from second, and cut the lead to 3-2.
West Michigan went in front in the top of the first with a pair of runs. Dominic Ficociello hit a double to right-center field that plated Javier Betancourt, and he later scored on a single by Wynton Bernard.
The Whitecaps added another run in the top of the fourth, but a run-saving catch by Spencer Edwards changed the game. With the bases loaded, two outs, and one run already in, Francisco Contreras hit a rocket into right-center field. Edwards read the ball quickly, and made a sliding catch to save at least two runs, and end the inning.
The bullpen was outstanding for the Hot Rods as they held West Michigan scoreless over five innings. It started with William Gabay, as he worked three innings with four strikeouts. Brad Schreiber (2-5) followed with two innings, and he earned the win while facing the minimum.
Mantiply (5-3) faced just Wong and Field in the ninth inning and got the loss after allowing Field’s home run.