Lansing, Mich. – A back-and-forth battle in the late innings sent the Bowling Green Hot Rods (Class-A/Tampa Bay Rays) to their first loss of their series with the Lansing Lugnuts (Toronto Blue Jays) on Saturday afternoon, 5-4. The Hot Rods trailed 1-0 entering the eighth inning, but scored two runs in the eighth and ninth to take the lead. Lansing rallied with four runs in the ninth to walk-off with the win.
The ninth-inning rally began with a walk to Ian Parmley. Dickie Joe Thon then sliced a single to center field to advance Parmley to second base. Following a wild pitch that moved both runners into scoring position. Jason Leblebijian singled them both home as his fly-ball to center field was knocked down by ferocious winds. It cut the lead to just one run. Matt Dean drew a walk to move Leblebijian to second base, and a grounder advanced them both into scoring position. That setup Damel Lugo with a game-tying single, and Derrick Loveless ended the game with a walk-off hit to left field.
Lansing’s lone run before their rally came in the sixth inning. Santiago Nessy singled, and moved up to third base on an attempted pick-off throw that went up the first-base line. One out later, Parmley hit a sacrifice fly to right field to give the Lugnuts a 1-0 edge.
The Hot Rods rallied to take the lead in the eighth. With James Harris aboard at second base, Juniel Querecuto singled to right field to drive him home. The throw went wide of the plate and allowed Querecuto to move up to second base. Pat Blair put Bowling Green in front with a single to left-center field that scored Querecuto.
The lead was extended by Bowling Green with a two-run ninth inning. Granden Goetzman hit a one-out single up the middle, and moved up to second on a single by Ty Young. A double steal moved them into scoring position, and Harris came through with a big base hit to left field that pushed the lead to 4-1 at the time.
Aaron Griffin (1-3) pitched the ninth inning and earned the loss. Starter Hunter Wood threw a season-high five innings, and allowed just two base runners while striking out five Lugnut batters.
Scott Silverstein (2-1) allowed two runs in the ninth, but was the recipient of the win for Lansing after the late rally.
The Hot Rods have already secured a winning road trip with Friday night’s win, and they’ll look to further win the series in the rubber match with the Lugnuts on Sunday afternoon. First pitch is slated for 1:05 p.m. CT, and the Pepsi Pre-Game Show will get underway at 12:50 p.m. CT on the radio home for the Hot Rods, 1340 WBGN – The Ticket. Right-hander German Marquez (0-1, 1.88) will look to continue his strong start to the season on the mound for the Hot Rods.