Bowling Green, Ky. (WBKO) --- Easton McGee allowed just two runs over 6.2 innings, but the Bowling Green Hot Rods were held to just two hits as the Hot Rods fell 3-1 to the Lansing Lugnuts on Saturday night. The Hot Rods fell to 63-48, 24-17 in the second half, ahead of Sunday’s contest, which will have a 2:05 first pitch.
After a spotless top of the first inning from McGee, the Hot Rods struck first against Lansing starter Juan De Paula. Following a one-out single from Seaver Whalen, Ruben Cardenas walked with two outs. Grant Witherspoon followed with a single to right, scoring Whalen for the first run of the game.
From there, the bats went silent for both teams as the score remained 1-0 into the sixth inning, with both teams recording just two hits over the first five frames.
In the sixth, McGee allowed consecutive singles by LJ Talley and Reggie Pruitt to begin the inning. After an error loaded the bases with nobody out, Hunter Steinmetz rolled into a fielder’s choice, scoring Talley to tie the game. Lansing still had runners on the corners with one out, but the right-hander induced a double play to keep the game deadlocked.
In the seventh, though, Lansing took the lead. Griffin Conine connected on the first pitch from McGee and launched it over the right-field bullpen, giving the Lugnuts a 2-1 lead. McGee then allowed two more hits, but McGee retired the next two hitters, before giving way to Chris Muller, who recorded the final out, keeping the damage to one run.
Lansing added on in the eighth. After a leadoff single by Otto Lopez, he advanced to second on an error by Muller, then scored on a one-out double by Gabriel Moreno, putting the Lugnuts up 3-1.
On the offensive end, the Hot Rods had no answer for De Paula and two Lansing relievers. Bowling Green did not record a hit after the first inning, with a fourth-inning walk from Chris Betts being the only baserunner in that span for the Hot Rods. The Lugnuts retired the final 16 Hot Rods, sending Bowling Green to a 3-1 loss to open the series.
McGee (7-4) went 6.2 innings, allowing two runs on seven hits, while striking out three without allowing a walk, taking the loss. Muller threw 2.1 innings in relief, allowing a run on two hits, striking out four.
Notes: Cardenas had his hit streak end at four games…It’s his first hitless effort since joining the Hot Rods…Aranda batted leadoff for the second time this season…McGee recorded his seventh quality start, six of which have occurred in his last seven starts…Bowling Green did not record a hit after the first inning...The two hits for the Hot Rods tied a season-low (also May 30 vs. Great Lakes)…BG is 21-14 in series openers this season…The Hot Rods are 37-20 at home…They're 49-32 against right-handed starters…The Hot Rods will play the second game of a four-game series against the Lansing Lugnuts on Sunday afternoon, with first pitch at 2:05 p.m.…RHP Caleb Sampen (8-4, 2.80) will start for Bowling Green against Lansing RHP Troy Watson (5-2, 3.72)…Tomorrow is another Signature Sunday, featuring postgame autographs on the field, as well as a Matthew Liberatore jumbo baseball card giveaway to the first 250 fans…Sunday will also be our final Princess and Pirates Day of the season…The first 100 pirates through the gates will receive a sword and the first 100 princesses get a tiara…Fans can catch all the action with Shawn Murnin on Willie 107.9 FM, as well as, with their smartphones via the MiLB First Pitch app and TuneIn Radio app.