Midland, MI – Reinaldo Lopez punched out a career-high ten batters, and Patrick Leonard recorded his first three-hit game as a Rays Minor Leaguer to lead the Bowling Green Hot Rods (61-41, 23-11) to a 7-3 win over the Great Lakes Loons (48-56, 21-13) Friday night at Dow Diamond.
The win clinches the Hot Rods 11th road series win in 17 tries in 2013 and improves the team to 20 games over .500. Marty Gantt also pitched in with a two-hit game, and Nick Sawyer locked down his fifth save.
After a Tyler Ogle two-out double in the first gave the Loons an early advantage, the Hot Rods quickly took their first lead of the night with a four-run top of the second. Justin O’Conner began the inning with a long solo home run to left field to quickly tie the score. Later in the inning with runners at second and third base, Leonard doubled to the left field corner to clear the bases and give the Hot Rods a 3-1 lead. The final pitch of the inning saw Andrew Toles single home Leonard. Toles was thrown out trying to head to second base.
The Loons answered with a solo home run from Jeremy Rathjen in their half of the second, but the Bowling Green offense responded with single runs in each of the next two innings. Leonardo Reginatto scored on a wild pitch in the third inning, and Leonard drove home his third run of the night with an RBI-single in the fourth.
Great Lakes was stymied at the plate by a Hot Rods starting pitcher for the second consecutive night. On top of his career-high ten strikeouts, Lopez hurled his fifth straight quality start and improved to 4-0 with a 1.16 ERA over that stretch.
After a busy first half of the game offensively, the two teams each scored a lone run in the latter innings. Sawyer pitched the final three frames, striking out four batters.
The Hot Rods will take their talents south to Lansing’s Cooley Law School Stadium for a three-game series that begins Saturday night at 6:05 PM CDT. Bowling Green will start RHP Jeff Ames (7-2, 2.43),
while the Lugnuts will counter with RHP Taylor Cole (5-9, 3.95). The broadcast starts with Hank Fuerst on the Forever Communications Pregame Show at 5:35 PM CDT on the Hot Rods Radio Network (1340 “The Ticket” WBGN-AM and 1340wbgn.com).
Bowling Green Ballpark returns to action in early August with a nine-game homestand to open the month. The Hot Rods will host the Dayton Dragons on August 1 along with Red, White, and Blue Night presented by AAA Systems, honoring members of the military, firefighters, and police personnel. The game will also serve as Thirsty Thursday, with $2 food and drink specials made possible by All-Hit WUHU 107 and Beaver 96.7. For more details and to secure your tickets, call the Hot Rods Ticket office at (270) 901-2121 or visit BGHotRods.com.