Lansing, Mich. – Two big innings stunted separate Bowling Green Hot Rods (Class-A/Tampa Bay Rays) rallies as the Lansing Lugnuts (Toronto Blue Jays) cruised to a 13-8 victory in a wild contest on Wednesday. The win gave Lansing the series victory, and Bowling Green closed their seven-game road trip with a 3-4 record.
After Granden Goetzman put the Hot Rods in front with a single to score Ariel Soriano in the first, Lansing sent 12 batters to the plate and scored six times in the bottom half. With the bases loaded, a walk to Justin Atkinson forced the first run home, and one out later, Jason Leblebijian came through with the loudest hit of the frame as he doubled to clear the bases and score three runs. Run-scoring singles by Seth Conner and Derrick Loveless extended the Lugnut advantage to 6-1 at the end of one.
The Hot Rods would chip away at the lead, and scored two runs in the second. Singles by Pat Blair and Soriano aided Bowling Green in scoring three runs in the top of the second to quickly answer the surge of offense by Lansing. They would complete the comeback and take the lead with three runs in the fifth. Blair reached on an error, and Soriano advanced to first on a wild pitch despite striking out to start the frame. Goetzman drove home Blair with a single, and sacrifice flies by Darryl George and Oscar Hernandez put the Hot Rods in front, 7-6.
Like their first inning lead, it was short-lived. The Lugnuts scored four runs in the bottom of the fifth. Dickie Joe Thon doubled home Jorge Saez to tie the game at seven, and run-scoring singles by Chaz Frank, Mitch Nay, and L.B. Dantzler stretched the Lansing lead even further to 10-7.
Leblebijian led off the sixth with a double and would score on a base hit by Seth Conner to give the Lugnuts an 11-7 lead, and they scored two more in the eighth. Thon led off with a single, and walks followed to Loveless and Frank to load the bases. Dantzler then doubled down the right-field line to plate the final two runs for Lansing.
Alexander Simon extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a lead-off single in the ninth. He would advance home later in the inning on a double play, and his run proved to be the final crooked number in the 13-8 Lugnut victory.
Phil Kish (3-2) gave Lansing valuable innings out of the bullpen and recorded the win. He tossed three and one-third scoreless innings. Andrew Hanse (0-3) took the loss for Bowling Green.
The Hot Rods head home to open a nine-game homestand beginning Thursday night. The Lake County Captains (Cleveland Indians) will arrive to open it on Thirsty Thursday presented by 96.7 WBVR – The Beaver. Pepsi products and select draft beer will be just two dollars beginning at 6 p.m. when the gates of Bowling Green Ballpark open.