Hot Rods Earn 6-5 Comeback Win to Open Series

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Bowling Green, Ky. (WBKO) --- The Bowling Green Hot Rods scored five runs over the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings to erase a three-run deficit and defeat the Fort Wayne TinCaps 6-5 on Wednesday night at Bowling Green Ballpark. The Hot Rods improve to 59-42, 20-11 in the second half, ahead of Thursday’s game, which will have a 6:35 p.m. first pitch.

After a scoreless first inning from Matthew Liberatore, the Hot Rods got on the board against Fort Wayne starter Ryan Weathers. Ford Proctor drew a leadoff walk, then stole second. With two outs, Chris Betts lined a single to left-center, bringing home Proctor for the first run of the game.

In the third, Fort Wayne took the lead thanks to some daring baserunning. Tucupita Marcano led off with a single and stole second. After a strikeout and groundout, Marcano went to third on a single by Dwanya Williams-Sutton. The runners then pulled off a double steal, with Marcano coming home to tie the game. Ft. Wayne wasn’t done, though, as Agustin Ruiz and Justin Lopez each followed with RBI singles, giving the TinCaps a 3-1 lead.

Fort Wayne added on in the fifth as Jawuan Harris led off with a double, then stole third. With one out, he came home on an RBI single from Blake Hunt to give Fort Wayne a three-run advantage.

After Weathers set down his final ten batters, Bowling Green cut into the deficit against Cody Tyler in the sixth. With Jonathan Aranda on first with two outs, Grant Witherspoon lined a triple to left-center, scoring Aranda. Roberto Alvarez followed with a single to center, scoring Witherspoon to trim the deficit to 4-3.

Bowling Green regained the lead in the seventh. Against Jose Quezada, Tony Pena and Osmy Gregorio began the inning with singles. After Proctor rolled into a double play, Seaver Whalen walked, then stole second. Aranda then hit a ground ball up the middle that Marcano cut off, but threw wildly to first, allowing two runs to score on what was ruled a single and an error, giving Bowling Green a 5-4 lead.

After spinning two scoreless frames, Nick Sprengel allowed a leadoff single in the eighth, followed by an error that put runners on the corners with no outs. Joel Peguero emerged from the bullpen and induced a double play from Lopez, but Williams-Sutton crossed the plate to tie the game at five apiece.

In the bottom of the eighth, Bowling Green regained the lead. After a leadoff walk to Witherspoon, Jordan Qsar walked with one out, then both runners moved into scoring position on a balk by Quezada. After a strikeout, Gregorio reached on an infield single to third that brought home Witherspoon to make it 6-5, Hot Rods.

Peguero went back out for the ninth and set down Fort Wayne in order, securing the 6-5 victory to begin the six-game homestand.

Liberatore went 5.0 innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on eight hits, walking two and striking out two in a no-decision. Sprengel threw two-plus innings, allowing a run on two hits, while striking our four. Peguero (3-1) went the final two frames, striking out three without allowing a hit and earning the win.

Notes: Alvarez had his 22nd multi-hit game of the season…He also laid down his first successful sacrifice bunt since 2017…Proctor had a six-game hitting streak snapped…Gregorio snapped an 0-for-25 slump with his 17th multi-hit game…He also collected three hits for the seventh time…Liberatore’s two strikeouts tied a season-low…Sprengel tied his career-high with four strikeouts…The Hot Rods are 33-17 at home…They're 12-11 against left-handed starters…Bowling Green is 19-18 in one-run games…BG is 7-3 when recording the same number of hits as their opponent…Bowling Green is 21-11 in series openers…The Hot Rods will play the middle game of the three-game set against the Fort Wayne TinCaps on Wednesday night, with first pitch at 6:35 p.m.…RHP Miller Hogan (1-3, 3.48) will start for Bowling Green against Fort Wayne RHP Sam Keating (3-6, 6.53)…Tomorrow will be a Bootlegger Thursday, sponsored by Casey Jones Distillery…Tomorrow night will also see the celebration of seven national holidays, featuring free carousel rides, food specials, and more…Fans can catch all the action with Shawn Murnin on Willie 107.9 FM, as well as, with their smart phones via the MiLB First Pitch app and TuneIn Radio app.

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