Lansing, Mich. – An early but modest lead was not enough on Friday night as the Bowling Green Hot Rods (Class-A/Tampa Bay Rays) dropped an 8-3 decision to the Lansing Lugnuts (Toronto Blue Jays). The teams combined for 21 hits, but a four-run seventh inning helped put the game out of reach.
The Hot Rods were able to strike first in the top of the third. Ty Young was hit by a pitch to start the inning, and he proceeded to steal second base. A wild pitch moved him to third base, and he would score when Spencer Edwards grounded to shortstop Dawel Lugo.
Lansing took the lead in the fourth with a pair of runs. Lugo led off with a bloop double, and scored when Derrick Loveless singled. Justin Atkinson and Daniel Klein followed with singles to load the bases, and David Harris grounded into a double play that forced home Loveless from third base.
Alexander Simon leveled the game for Bowling Green in the fifth when he doubled, moved to third on a passed ball, and scored on a wild pitch. The tie would be broken quickly, as runs batted in by Lugo and Loveless in the bottom of the fifth put the Lugnuts in front for good, giving them a 4-2 lead at the time.
That advantage was cut to just one in the sixth. Granden Goetzman led off with a single, and moved to third on Armando Araiza’s double. Juniel Querecuto would ground out to third baseman Mitch Nay to bring the score to 4-3.
The big inning was finally achieved for Lansing in the seventh, as four runs crossed. Lugo singled home Matt Dean to start the scoring, and Loveless homered to right field to drive him home. The inning was capped by a double by Klein and run-scoring single by Harris. The rally stretched the advantage and completed the scoring, 8-3.
Knuckleballer Frank Viola III (2-0) allowed two runs on five hits in five innings, but picked up his second win in a Lugnuts uniform. The 30-year old has allowed just the two runs plated by the Hot Rods in 15.2 innings for Lansing this season.
Ben Griset (0-3) started the game for Bowling Green and received the loss. He allowed four runs on nine hits before being replaced in the fifth inning.
The Hot Rods will now try and re-take the series advantage on Saturday night. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. CT, and fans can follow the action beginning at 5:50 p.m. CT on 1340 WBGN – The Ticket. Baseball will return to Bowling Green Ballpark on Tuesday, June 24, when the Hot Rods host Lake County (Cleveland Indians). For tickets and more information, fans can visit BGHotRods.com or call 270-901-2121.