LANSING, Mich. (WBKO) --- Wander Franco hit his fifth home run of the season and Michael Smith had two hits as the Bowling Green Hot Rods lost their third-straight game in the series opener, 5-2 to the Lansing Lugnuts. The Hot Rods fall to 32-23 on the season with the second game of the series set for Saturday night with a 6:05 PM CDT first pitch.
The Hot Rods took an early lead thanks to a powerful stroke by Franco against Troy Miller. Ford Proctor led off the game with a four-pitch walk, but he wasn’t on base long. Franco worked the count full and pulled the payoff pitch of his at-bat over the right-field wall to give Bowling Green a 2-0 edge.
The Lugnuts cut Bowling Green’s lead to a run in the bottom of the frame against starter Easton McGee. Otto Lopez singled to right with one out, scoring when Jake Brodt ripped a two-out double to the right-center field to cut the Hot Rods lead to 2-1.
The Lugnuts took the lead in the third against McGee and the Hot Rods thanks, in part, to a pair of throwing errors. Hunter Steinmetz led off with a walk and went to third on a throwing error at first on a pickoff attempt. Reggie Pruitt walked behind him and with two outs and stole second, but the throw went into center field and allowed Steinmetz to score, tying the game. With two outs, Griffin Conine singled to center, driving in Pruitt to give the Lugnuts a 3-2 advantage.
The Lugnuts added a run in fifth against McGee, with Conine lacing a two-out double off the right-center field wall to drive home Lopez and make it a 4-2 game. Lansing added a run in the eighth, extending their lead to 5-2 and eventually dealing the Hot Rods their third-consecutive loss in the series opener.
McGee (4-1) tossed 5.2 innings while allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits with three walks and four strikeouts in a loss. Miller Hogan threw the final 2.1 innings of the game, allowing one run on two this with two strikeouts.