BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) --- The Bowling Green Bootleggers were held to just two hits and couldn’t hold an early two-run lead as the Great Lakes Loons took the rubber game of the series against Bowling Green by a score of 8-4. Bowling Green will hit the road to Lansing to begin a three-game series against the Lugnuts. First pitch on Friday night will be at 6:05 p.m. CDT.
Great Lakes struck in the first inning against Bowling Green starter Alan Strong. Following a leadoff single by Miguel Vargas, Dillon Paulson drew a one-out walk. After a strikeout, Jair Camargo doubled off the top of the centerfield wall, bringing home both runners to give the Loons a 2-0 lead.
Bowling Green got one run back in the bottom of the inning. With one out, Great Lakes starter Zach Willeman walked Wander Franco, Seaver Whalen, and Chris Betts in succession to load the bases. Grant Witherspoon followed with a ground ball to second, with Betts being forced out, but Witherspoon beat out the throw to first, avoiding the inning-ending double play driving in the first run of the game for the Bootleggers.
The Bootleggers took the lead in the second, again without a hit. Beau Brundage led off with a walk, then advanced to second when Kevin Santiago was hit by a pitch. Michael Smith then chopped a ground ball to second that was muffed, scoring Brundage and putting runners at second and third. Ford Proctor then grounded out to bring home Santiago with the go-ahead run. Franco capped off the rally with a sacrifice fly that brought home Smith, giving Bowling Green a 4-2 lead.
Great Lakes struck again off Strong in the third, stringing together three singles off of Strong. The third hit, which came off the bat of Camargo, brought home Jacob Amaya to cut the Bootleggers lead to 4-3. Two innings later Jacob Amaya led off with a double, moved to third on a fly out, then scored when Strong uncorked a wild pitch, tying the game at four apiece.
In the top of the sixth, Cristopher Ogando emerged from the bullpen and immediately coughed up a solo homer to Romer Cuardado. The solo shot put the Loons in front 5-4. Great Lakes added a run off Ogando in the seventh and single runs in the eighth and ninth off Nick Sprengel to extend the advantage. Meanwhile, Bowling Green failed to launch a serious offensive threat in the late innings and fell 8-4, dropping the rubber game of the series.
Strong went 5.0 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits, while walking two and striking out five in a no-decision. Ogando (2-1) went 2.0 innings, allowing two runs on three hits, striking out one and taking his first loss. Sprengel threw the final 2.0 innings, allowing two runs on four hits, while striking out three.