COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. (WBKO) --- Caleb Sampen held the West Michigan Whitecaps to one run on four hits in a gutty 3-2 victory for the Bowling Green Hot Rods on Wednesday at Fifth Third Ballpark. The Hot Rods improve to 26-20 on the season and will play the series finale on Thursday with a 10:00 AM CDT first pitch.
West Michigan took a first-inning lead against Caleb Sampen and the Hot Rods. Johnny Valente led off with an infield single and went to third when Chris Proctor singled to left. Proctor advanced to second on the play, but third baseman Jake Palomaki made an errant throw to second in an attempt to throw him out that allowed Valente to score and give the Whitecaps a 1-0 edge.
The Hot Rod were held to one hit over the first six innings of play by West Michigan starter Adam Wolf, but Bowling Green finally got to the southpaw in the seventh inning to take the lead and chase him from the game. Grant Witherspoon led off the inning with his second single of the game. With two outs, Jake Palomaki grounded a double to left, scoring Witherspoon to tie the game. Beau Brundage singled in the next at-bat to drive in Palomaki and give the Hot Rods a 2-1 advantage.
Bowling Green added another run in the eighth to chase reliever Michael Gizzi from the game. With one out, Ford Proctor singled to left and went to second when Kaleo Johnson reached on a fielding error. With two outs, Roberto Alvarez walked to load the bases for Chris Betts. Betts earned a walk to force home Proctor, extending the Bowling Green lead to 3-1.
The Whitecaps came within a run in the eighth against Hot Rods reliever Nick Sprengel. Chris Proctor singled to center with one out and went to third when Jordan Pearce singled to center. Ulrich Bojarski lifted a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Proctor to cut the Hot Rods lead to one, but Sprengel struck out Rey Rivera to end the inning. Joel Peguero faced the minimum in the ninth, getting a double play and a ground ball to end the game and give the Hot Rods their 26th victory of the season.
Sampen (3-2) earned the win after hurling six innings while holding the Whitecaps to a run on four hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Sprengel tossed two innings while allowing a run on two hits with two strikeouts in his second hold of the season. Peguero picked up his fourth save of the year, throwing a spotless ninth inning.