South Bend, IN – After five scoreless innings of play, the Bowling Green Hot Rods (70-53, 32-23) fell behind and ended just short of the South Bend Silver Hawks (77-47, 33-22) in a 2-1 loss on Saturday. Bowling Green outhit South Bend nine to five and put 14 batters on base but only scratched the scoreboard on a sacrifice fly from Marty Gantt. Austin Pruitt pitched five scoreless innings in his first Hot Rods start before South Bend grabbed its lead.
The Hot Rods were unsuccessful in their early opportunities to take the lead. A two-out walk for Patrick Leonard extended the second inning for Geoff Rowan, who laced a double to put runners in scoring position. Silver Hawks starter Jesse Darrah escaped the threat with a strikeout and stranded a runner at second base in each of the next two innings. Pruitt allowed only three men on base with singles in five shutout innings. Pruitt also retired the final six batters he faced.
Rudy Flores provided a two-run lead for South Bend in the bottom of the sixth. Hot Rods reliever Matt Spann faced Flores with one out and runners at first and second. Flores drove a double to left-center field that scored Fidel Pena and Brandon Drury for a 2-0 advantage.
Spann settled down with a groundout and a strikeout to exit the frame.
The final three innings featured quality scoring chances for Bowling Green. With runners at the corners and just one out in the seventh, South Bend reliever Tyler Green induced an inning-ending double play to keep the Hot Rods scoreless. In a similar situation in the eighth, Gantt hit a sacrifice fly to right field that scored Tommy Coyle from third base. The inning ended with two runners on base following a Leonard single and Rowan fly out. With two outs in the ninth, Joey Rickard stroked a single and Coyle walked before Silver Hawks reliever Jimmie Sherfy ended the game on a strikeout.
On Sunday, the Hot Rods will continue their series with the Silver Hawks in a 1:05 PM CDT matinee. Bowling Green LHP Blake Snell (3-8, 4.41) will take on South Bend RHP Aaron Blair (0-0, 0.00), who is making his Silver Hawk debut. Pregame coverage with Chris Kleinhans-Schulz is scheduled to start at
12:35 PM CDT on the Forever Communications Pregame Show on the Hot Rods Radio Network (1340 “The Ticket” WBGN-AM and 1340wbgn.com).
A six-game homestand for the Hot Rods will start on Wednesday, August 21 against the West Michigan Whitecaps, featuring an IGA All-You-Can-East Wednesday buffet. The upcoming homestand also includes Thrifty Thursday on August 22 courtesy of All-Hit WUHU 107 and Beaver 96.7, Postgame Fireworks on August 24 sponsored by WBKO, and Feed Your Face Day on August 25. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit BGHotRods.com or call (270) 901-2121.