BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) --- The Bowling Green Hot Rods swept a doubleheader from the Great Lakes Loons, winning game one 8-7 on a walk-off single by Seaver Whalen, while Matthew Liberatore tossed his first career complete game to take game two 3-1. The Hot Rods clinched a four-game sweep of the Loons with the twinbill and improved to 45-33, 6-2 in the second half. Bowling Green will head to Lansing to begin a three-game series on Saturday night with a 6:05 p.m. CDT first pitch.
Before play was suspended on Thursday, the Hot Rods struck first off Great Lakes starter Robinson Ortiz. With one out in the bottom of the first, Seaver Whalen cranked a solo homer to left, giving the Hot Rods a 1-0 lead. However, immediately after the end of the first inning, rain came and the game entered into a delay. The contest would be suspended after a delay of approximately 30 minutes.
Following the restart on Friday afternoon, Great Lakes wasted little time in tying the game. With Miller Hogan on the mound, Dan Robinson connected for a solo homer that tied the game at one apiece. In the bottom of the inning, though, the Hot Rods struck against Great Lakes reliever Zach Willeman. Russ Olive and Jonathan Aranda picked up RBI singles and Whalen drove in a third run on a fielder’s choice, giving Bowling Green a 4-1 lead.
In the third, Izzy Wilson was hit by a pitch, then came around to score when Olive struck again, connecting on his first professional home run off Willeman, extending the lead to 6-1.
Great Lakes responded with a pair of unearned runs in the top of the fifth off Hogan. In the sixth, the Loons tied the game with three runs off Nick Sprengel, with an error leading to a pair additional unearned runs. In the eighth, the Loons took the lead off Sprengel. After a one-out walk and double, Hunter Feduccia broke the tie with an RBI double to give the Loons a 7-6 lead.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Hot Rods loaded the bases as Aranda walked and Gregorio and Proctor all singled with one out. Whalen played hero for the second straight game, lining a full-count offering down the left-field line for a walk-off, two-run single, giving the Hot Rods an 8-7 win.
Michael Constanzo started and threw 1.0 scoreless inning in a no-decision. Hogan went 4.0 innings, allowing three runs (one earned) on five hits, walking one and striking out six. Sprengel went 2.2 innings, allowing four runs (two earned) on five hits, walking one and striking out three. Nick Padilla (5-2) threw 1.1 innings, striking out one and earning the win.
In game two, the first three innings flew by with no scoring as Matthew Liberatore matched zeroes with Great Lakes’ Stephen Kolek. In the fourth, though, Aranda drew a one-out walk, stole second, then scored on a throwing error to give the Hot Rods a 1-0 lead.
In the fifth, the Loons tied the game off Liberatore. Matt Cogen drew a leadoff walk, advanced to third on a balk and infield single, then scored on an error to tie the game.
In the bottom of the frame, the Hot Rods took the lead right back. With two outs, Seaver Whalen doubled, then scored when Grant Witherspoon deposited a 1-2 pitch over the wall in right-center field for a two-run homer, giving Bowling Green a 3-1 lead.
Liberatore got the opportunity to finish what he started, beginning the seventh inning. He allowed a leadoff single to Cogen, but retired the final three hitters, finishing off his first career complete game, and the first complete game for a Hot Rod this season, while also completing a four-game sweep of the Loons.
Liberatore (6-1) went all 7.0 innings, allowing one run on five hits, while walking one and striking out 10 in the victory.