South Bend, Ind. – Chris Kirsch dominated as he worked eight solid innings, and James Harris hit an inside-the-park grand slam in the first inning as the Bowling Green Hot Rods (Class-A/Tampa Bay Rays) dominated the South Bend Silver Hawks (Arizona Diamondbacks) on Wednesday night, 10-1. Bowling Green plated six in the first in never looked back as they improved to 12-4 on the season against South Bend.
Four walks, a base hit, and Harris’ inside-the-park grand slam led to six runs crossing in the first inning for the Hot Rods. Following walks to Pat Blair and Oscar Hernandez, Alexander Simon singled through the left side to drive home Blair. Two more walks were conceded, and after Julian Ridings reached on a free pass to drive home Hernandez, South Bend starter Blake Perry was chased from the game.
Harris then welcomed Tom Jameson to the game with a liner to center field. It bounced away from Chuck Taylor, and Harris was off to the races. He came around for the inside-the-park grand slam, and it gave the Hot Rods a commanding 6-0 lead.
The advantage was more than enough for Kirsch (7-6), who at one point retired 11 batters in a row. Outside of a run-scoring double to Jaime Westbrook in the second, Kirsch did not allow a run. Overall, he tossed a career-high eight innings and held South Bend to just four this while striking out four. The outing lowered his earned run average to 2.70, and also clinched his fourth consecutive victory.
Bowling Green’s offense would not relent, as Hernandez would double home Kean Wong in the fifth, and Spencer Edwards singled to plate Ridings in the sixth. In the seventh, after an error allowed Wong to score, Darryl George capped the night with a single to score Ty Young, and give the Hot Rods their tenth run of the game.
Josh Kimborowicz would work the ninth and retire the side in order to lock down the victory. Harris’ slam was the third grand slam of the season, with Hernandez and Young owning the first two. All three have been hit against the Silver Hawks, but Harris’ was the first since April 30.
The Hot Rods now go for the three-game series sweep at South Bend on Thursday night, and first pitch is set for 6:05 p.m. CT. The Pepsi Pre-Game Show will begin at 5:50 p.m. CT on the radio home of the Hot Rods, 1340 WBGN – The Ticket. The Hot Rods will return to Bowling Green on Monday, August 4, and tickets are available for the six-game homestand. Fans can logon to BGHotRods.com, call 270-901-2121, or stop by the Bowling Green Ballpark box office for more information.