South Bend, Ind. – The South Bend Silver Hawks (Class-A/Arizona Diamondbacks) may be leading the Midwest League’s Eastern Division, but the Bowling Green Hot Rods (Tampa Bay Rays) continued their success against the Silver Hawks on Saturday night with a 10-1 victory. Chris Kirsch tossed seven shutout innings in the victory, as the Hot Rods now own a 9-3 advantage in the season series with South Bend.
The Hot Rods steadily built a lead, and they began the scoring with a pair of runs in the second. With one out, Pat Blair singled, and Yoel Araujo immediately followed with a single of his own. Johnny Field then lined a ball down the right-field line to score both Blair and Araujo. Field was thrown out at second trying to advance to third base, but he was credited with a double and Bowling Green led 2-0 after two.
In the fourth, Ty Young led off with an infield single, and he would later score on an Araujo groundout. The lead was stretched further in the fifth. Young was hit by a pitch, and Oscar Hernandez followed with a triple to right-center field to score Young. Hernandez came across when Araujo singled to the left side.
After Hernandez picked up another run batted in during the seventh, the Hot Rods broke the game open with four runs in the eighth. Araujo, Alexander Simon, and Field reached on singles to load the bases to start the frame. After Kean Wong reached on a fielder’s choice to score Araujo, Granden Goetzman singled to drive home Simon. Young would add a run-scoring single, and a wild pitch capped the scoring as Goetzman came across.
The lead swelled to 10-0 after the eight-inning rally, and the Silver Hawks would only muster one run in the bottom of the ninth to give the contest its final margin.
Kirsch (3-5) tied a career-high with seven innings for the second consecutive start. He allowed just three hits, and issued one free pass. Kirsch lowered his earned run average to 3.90 in the win. Ian Kendall tossed the final two frames for the Hot Rods.
Austin Platt (0-1) started for South Bend and received the loss. Platt allowed five runs on nine hits before being removed in the sixth inning.
Bowling Green will look to secure the series victory in game two of the three-game set on Sunday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. CT in South Bend, Ind., and Ryne Stanek will ascend the mound for the Hot Rods. The Pepsi Pre-Game Show will begin at 12:50 p.m. CT on the flagship home of the Hot Rods, 1340 WBGN – The Ticket. Bowling Green will return home on Wednesday to open a six-game homestand.