Eastlake, OH (WBKO) --- Jonathan Aranda extended his hit streak to 13-games and Jordan Qsar homered as the Bowling Green Hot Rods won their third-straight game with a 5-4 victory over the Lake County Captains at Classic Park to open a three-game series. The Hot Rods improve to 74-54 overall and 35-23 in the second half ahead of Thursday’s 6:05 PM CDT for the second game of a three-game set against the Captains.
The Hot Rods took a first-inning lead against Captains starter Alex Royalty thanks to a homer to right-center. Ford Proctor led off with a walk on four pitches and went to second on a passed ball. Nick Schnell grounded out to short, moving Proctor to third and Jonathan Aranda walked. With two strikes, Jordan Qsar blasted his ninth homer of the season to right-center field giving the Hot Rods a 3-0 lead.
Matthew Liberatore returned from the Injured List, starting the game for Bowling Green. The Captains scored in the bottom of the frame as the southpaw limited the damage after Clark Scolamiero tripled to the wall in right-center field, Bo Naylor grounded out to first to plate the runner and make it a 3-1 game.
Bowling Green added to their lead against Royalty and the Captains in the third. Schnell laced a one-out double to left field and went to third on a passed ball. Aranda extended his hit streak and the Hot Rods lead with a single to left, plating Schnell and making it a 4-1 ballgame.
Liberatore finished his day by facing the minimum over the next two innings while striking out two. Chris Muller took over on the mound in the fourth while Lake County scored in the fifth against the righty. Raynel Delgado led off with a single to right and with one out, Billy Wilson doubled to left, scoring Delgado to cut the Hot Rods lead to 4-2.
The Hot Rods extended their lead in the seventh against Lake County reliever Luis Valdez. Proctor led off with a single off the glove of Valdez, who scrambled to recover but made an errant throw to first in doing so. The error allowed Proctor to go to third and Schnell drove him in with a deep sacrifice fly to left-center to give Bowling Green a 5-2 edge.
The Captains kept it close, plating two more runs in the seventh inning against Hot Rods reliever Nathan Witt. Delgado reached with a one-out error and Ulysses Cantu walked. Billy Wilson grounded into a fielder’s choice that moved Delgado to third and retired Cantu at second and Makesiondon Kelkboom doubled to left, plating both runners to make it a 5-4 ballgame. Joel Peguero entered out of the bullpen to record the final six outs of the game, recording a save in securing a 5-4 win.
Liberatore allowed one run on one hit with a walk and two strikeouts over three complete innings in a no-decision. Muller (2-4) allowed one run on two hits with four strikeouts over two innings in a win. Witt threw two innings while holding the Captains to two unearned runs on a hit with a walk and two strikeouts in hits two innings from the bullpen. Peguero earned his 13th save of the season after throwing the final two innings in relief, allowing a walk and a hit with a strikeout.
Notes: Qsar has homered three times in his last 10 games… Qsar also had his seventh multi-RBI game of the season… Four of Aranda extended his hit streak to 13 games... Liberatore’s three innings of work were his longest start since a five-inning start against the Fort Wayne TinCaps on July 24… Peguero is one save away from tying Scott Shuman (2010) for the third-most saves in a singled season in Hot Rods History… BG is 3-2 on this road trip… They’re 12-8 in August… Wednesday was their 23 wins in a one-run game this season… The bullpen is 28-27… BG is 23-17 in the first game of a series… They’re 15-40 when outhit by the opponent… The Hot Rods continue their three-game set with the Captains on Thursday with a 6:05 PM CDT first pitch… Bowling Green will send RH Miller Hogan (5-3, 2.91) to the mound against RH Shane MCarthy (4-3, 4.01)… Fans can catch all the action with Shawn Murnin on Willie 107.9 FM and the Hot Rods Radio Network on the TuneIn Radio and MiLB First Pitch apps, available for smartphones.