Hot Rods Win Division Series with Four Home Runs
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Dillon Paulson slugged a grand slam as part of a four-homer night as the Bowling Green Hot Rods (2-1, 78-52) clinched the South Atlantic League Divisional Series in a 7-1 victory over the Rome Braves (1-2, 74-54) on Friday evening. The Hot Rods will take on the Aberdeen IronBirds in the first game of the SAL Championship on Sunday at Bowling Green Ballpark with a 1:05 PM CT first pitch. Tickets start at just $5. Fans can purchase their tickets for Sunday here: https://da6.glitnirticketing.com/daticket/web/stadiumg.php?event_id=413&status_id=2.
Johan Lopez continued his strong start to the postseason with a two-run home run off of starter Blake Burkhalter to open the scoring. Rome answered with a solo homer in the third to cut the lead to one. Paulson came to the plate with the bases loaded in the fourth and a new pitcher for Rome, lefty reliever Jake McSteen. Paulson welcomed him with a grand slam to give Bowling Green a 6-1 lead. Lopez homered for the second time in the seventh with a leadoff home run off Austin Smith to make it 7-1 Hot Rods. The bullpen shut out Rome, as Bowling Green captured the Division Series in a 7-1 win.
Ben Peoples (1-0) earned the win in 5.1 innings, allowing a run on five hits with two walks and six strikeouts. Austin Vernon struck out five in 1.2 scoreless frames with a walk. Evan Reifert had a strikeout in a scoreless eighth. Conor Dryer finished the game for the Hot Rods, allowing a hit and notching a strikeout in a scoreless ninth.
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