Comstock Park, MI (WBKO) --- Grant Witherspoon hit an early homer but the Bowling Green Hot Rods dropped the first game of a three-game series to the West Michigan Whitecaps, 3-1, on Wednesday night at Fifth Third Ballpark in Comstock Park, Michigan. The Hot Rods are 65-50 overall and 26-19 in the second half. The Hot Rods and Whitecaps will play their second game on Thursday at Fifth Third Ballpark with a 6:05 PM CDT first pitch.
The Hot Rods touched up West Michigan starter Hugh Smith in the first inning to take an early lead. With one out, Witherspoon blasted a solo home run deep to right that carried over the roof of a hospitality area in right. The shot was Witherspoon’s 10th of the season and gave the Hot Rods a 1-0 lead.
West Michigan took the lead back against Bowling Green starter Shane Baz in the bottom of the second. Andrew Lipcius singled and went to second on a throwing error by Hot Rods third baseman Osmy Gregorio and Cooper Johnson was hit by a pitch. Jack Kenley walked to load the bases while Lipcius scored on Danny Reyes’ single to tie the game. Zach Malis lifted a sacrifice fly to center field, plating Johnson to give the Whitecaps a 2-1 advantage. The Whitecaps extended their lead in the fourth after Johnson hit a solo homer off the scoreboard in left-center, making it a 3-1 West Michigan lead.
Baz (3-2) allowed three runs on four hits over six innings with two walks and four strikeouts in a loss. Michael Costanzo allowed a walk and hit over his one-inning of work with a strikeout. Cristofer Ogando allowed a hit in his one inning of relief.
Notes: Witherspoon’s homer was his first since June 28th against Great Lakes… He joins Chris Betts and Ruben Cardenas as the only three Hot Rods to have 10+ homers this season… Proctor has a four-game hit streak…. Whalen has a three-game streak… Baz tied a career-high with six innings pitched… It was also his second quality start of the season… The Hot Rods are 10-2 against the Whitecaps in 2019… BG falls to 26-29 on the road this season… They’re 14-9 in games decided by two runs… Hot Rods starters are 40-26… The team falls to 21-15 in the first game of a series… 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 smartphone.