BOWLING GREEN, KENTUCKY- The Bowling Green Hot Rods (23-12) used another great pitching performance and an early 2-0 lead to defeat the Lake County Captains (12-22) by a final score of 6-1 on Monday afternoon.
Lefty Ryan Merritt started the game for the Captains as he took on right-hander Jeff Ames for Bowling Green in the matinee rubber game.
The Hot Rods took a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Centerfielder Andrew Toles led off the inning with a double to left field. Right fielder Joey Rickard plated Toles with a RBI single to left field. Merritt then loaded the bases with three walks. First baseman Patrick Leonard brought home a run with a sacrifice fly to left.
Bowling Green used a three-spot in the fifth inning to blow the game open. Back-to-back singles opened the inning and then Rickard struck again with a two-run double to centerfield. The last run of the inning came on a RBI groundout by second baseman Thomas Coyle. After five innings of play, the home team led 5-0.
Merritt was the first pitcher to leave the game as he departed after five innings. Merritt lost his third game of the season, surrendering five runs on seven hits. He walked a season-high six batters and he struck out two. Merritt had five walks entering Monday’s game.
Reliever Josh Martin came to pitch the sixth inning for the Captains.
Ames improved to 5-0 on the season with six shutout innings. He only allowed two hits and one walk along with five punchouts. Brandon Henderson followed with two shutout innings of relief work.
Toles led off the seventh inning with his seventh triple of the year. Rickard drove in his fourth RBI of the game with a single through the left side. Bowling Green held a 6-0 lead after seven innings.
Shortstop Erik Gonzalez broke the shutout with his second homerun of the year. Gonzalez has hit two homeruns in the last three games. Hot Rods’ reliever Nick Sawyer retired the final two batters to end the game with the score 6-1.
Martin threw three innings to end the game, only allowing one run on three hits.
Sawyer gave up the homerun, his only blemish in his one inning of work.
The Captains were held to three hits on Monday with centerfielder LeVon Washington and catcher Eric Haase each having a double. Gonzalez added the homerun for the third hit.
Toles and Rickard combined to go 6-8 in the game with three extra-base hits and four RBI’s.
The Captains will return to Classic Park on Tuesday to open a seven-game homestand and a three game series with the Lansing Lugnuts. RHP Michael Peoples (1-2, 1.96 ERA) will make his first start of the year as he will be opposed by RHP Javier Avendano (2-2, 5.13 ERA) for the Lugnuts. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 PM from Classic Park.