BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) --- The Bowling Green Hot Rods entertained the fifth-largest crowd in the history of Bowling Green Ballpark and sent all 6,199 fans home happy with a 4-2 victory on Independence Day over the Dayton Dragons. The Hot Rods improved to 50-34 ahead of the series finale against Dayton, which will have a 6:35 p.m. first pitch on Friday night.
After Hot Rods starter Matthew Liberatore worked a scoreless top of the first, the Hot Rods took an early lead against Dayton starter Connor Curlis. Ford Proctor singled to right, which was followed by a bunt single from Osmy Gregorio. After both runners moved up on a wild pitch, Jonathan Aranda brought in a run on a groundout. With two outs, Gregorio came home on a balk, giving the Hot Rods a 2-0 lead.
Bowling Green added on in the second, as Gregorio drove in Grant Witherspoon with a two-out RBI single. An inning later, Izzy Wilson turned on a pitch from Curlis and launched it off the scoreboard in right field for a solo homer. His second home run of the season extended the lead to 4-0.
The score remained the same until the fifth inning when Dayton mounted a rally against Liberatore. After a walk and single opened the inning, an error loaded the bases with nobody out. Mariel Bautista lined an RBI single, then Jay Schuyler drew a bases-loaded walk two batters later to force in another run to cut the lead to 4-2. Liberatore then gave way to Cristopher Sanchez, who induced two fielder’s choices to preserve the two-run advantage.
Sanchez worked scoreless sixth and seventh frames, while Cristofer Ogando came out of the bullpen and allowed just one hit over the final two innings, securing the 4-2 victory to begin a ten-game homestand.
Liberatore went 4.1 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits, while walking two and striking out three in a no-decision. Sanchez (3-1) went 2.2 scoreless innings, allowing one hits while striking out two and earning the win. Ogando threw the final 2. 0 innings, allowing one hit and striking out five, earning his fourth save.