The Bowling Green Hot Rods have been on a roll as of late – and they remained hot on Friday night – as they extended their franchise-record winning streak to 13 games with a hard-fought 4-1 win over Lake County (Ohio) at Bowling Green Ballpark.
Bowling Green – which improved its overall record to an impressive 49-22 on the season – remains in first place in the Midwest League Eastern Division. After going 47-22 in the first half of the season, the Hot Rods are off to a 2-0 start in the second half.
“One, it goes to these guys being really good,” Hot Rods manager Craig Albernaz said. “Great clubhouse atmosphere. These guys love to come to the clubhouse and come to the field and play. These guys come, they love to play the game and they’re all in it. Yes, we’re trying to develop big leaguers, but at that same time they’re all trying to win the game.
“They love competing.”
With their victory, the Hot Rods have now won their last seven games against Lake County (29-43) in 2018. BG’s last loss to the Captains came back on April 27 in a 1-0 decision in Downtown Bowling Green – a place the Hot Rods are now 43-26 against Lake County all-time.
Bowling Green – who has already secured a spot in the 2018 Midwest League playoffs – and Lake County were tied at 1-all after four complete innings before the Hot Rods scored in the bottom of the fifth and seventh innings to build a 3-1 lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
Emilio Gustave led the way for the Hot Rods with a 2-for-4, RBI showing at the plate, while Moises Gomez also finished with two hits. Josh Fleming started on the mound for Bowling Green and tossed seven strikeouts with three hits and one run in six complete innings to earn the win and improve to 4-1 on the year.
Jhonleider Salinas replaced Fleming and recorded three strikeouts of his own while allowing just one hit in two innings of work before Phoenix Sanders entered and pitched a scoreless ninth.
“Our pitching kept us in the game,” Albernaz said. “Fleming was outstanding, and Salinas and Sanders – and they kept us in the game and were able to help us get our offense going.”
The Hot Rods will try for their eighth straight victory over Lake County at 6:35 p.m. Saturday. The pitching matchup is still TBA.
After Lake County scored on a throwing error in the top of the third, Bowling Green answered in the bottom half of the inning.
With two on and one out, Brujan produced a sacrifice fly into centerfield to score Jim Haley and even the scoreboard at 1-1.
The Hot Rods broke through with another run – this time courtesy of a fielder’s choice – in the bottom of the fifth to jump in front at 2-1. Haley later scored on a wild pitch two innings later to push Bowling Green’s advantage to 3-1 – and it held on from there.
“Little things add up to win the ball game. Just kind of grinded out,” said Albernaz. “We’re just playing some good ball right now.”LC – 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 – 1 4 0BG – 0 0 1 0 1 0 1 1 x – 4 10 3WP: Fleming. LP: McCarty.–Senior writer Tyler Mansfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @_TylerMansfield.–