Bowling Green, KY – Drew Vettleson collected four hits to break the franchise’s single-season hits record, leading the Bowling Green Hot Rods (35-23, 73-55) to a 12-5 win over the Dayton Dragons (25-31, 55-71) on Wednesday night at Bowling Green Ballpark. Jake Hager and Cameron Seitzer both smashed two-run homers, and Charlie Cononie hurled five scoreless innings of relief to earn the win in game one of the three-game series.
Prior to Wednesday, Tim Beckham’s 135 hits in 2009 stood as the most-ever in a single season for a Hot Rods player, but Vettleson, who entered play with 132 hits, went 4-4 at the plate to break the record. The 2010 first rounder and Hager, a 2011 first round selection, each drove in a pair of runs to extend their team-leading RBI total to 68.
For the second straight night, the Hot Rods started fast by scoring in the bottom of the first. With no outs and runners at first and third, Vettleson drove a ball into centerfield for a sacrifice fly that brought in the game’s first run. Later in the frame, Matt Rice drove in two runs with a single into right field. At the end of one inning, the Hot Rods had built a 3-0 lead.
The Dragons used a pair of bases loaded walks from Justin Woodall in the top of the second inning to vault right back into the game. However, the Hot Rods obtained those runs right back on Seitzer’s two-run home run off the foul pole in left field in the bottom of the third inning.
Possessing another three-run lead, the Hot Rods witnessed the Dragons fight all the way back to tie the score 5-5 after three runs in the top of the fourth. The Bowling Green offense took off from there, though, scoring in every half inning in the game except for the bottom of the second to coast to the series-opening victory.
Offensively, five Hot Rods players had multi-hit games, including Vettleson’s four-hit outburst. Rice knocked three hits to raise his average to .304, and Ryan Brett, Hager, and Juniel Querecuto all notched two-hit performances.
The three-game series at Bowling Green Ballpark continues on Thursday night at 6:35 PM when the Hot Rods host the Dragons in the middle game. Bowling Green will send LHP Felipe Rivero (8-8, 3.11) to the mound, while the Dragons will counter with RHP James Allen (7-4, 4.02).