Bowling Green Completes Comeback in 10-8 Series Opening Win
Witherspoon and Edwards homer in first game of High-A East Championship
Greensboro, North Carolina – Grant Witherspoon and Evan Edwards powered the offense with home runs as the Bowling Green Hot Rods (1-0) beat the Greensboro Grasshoppers (0-1) in comeback fashion, 10-8 on Thursday at First National Bank Field in Greensboro, North Carolina. The two teams play the second game of a best-of-five championship series on Friday with a 12:05 PM CT first pitch.
Greensboro plated their first two runs in the bottom of the second against Hot Rods starter Ian Seymour. With one out, Matt Gorski worked a walk to get the offense started. Aaron Shackelford stepped up to the plate and hit a two-run homer, giving the Grasshoppers a 2-0 lead.
The Hot Rods tied the game in the top of the third with a two-run homer of their own off Grasshoppers starter Michael Burrows. Pedro Martinez was hit by a pitch, putting a runner on first. One out later, Witherspoon crushed a ball off the batters-eye in center, tying the game for Bowling Green, 2-2.
The Grasshoppers jumped out to a 5-2 lead, but the Hot Rods offense answered in the top of the fourth with Burrows still on the mound. Edwards led off with a solo home run to bring the score to 5-3. Jordan Qsar walked, Diego Infante singled, and Alika Williams walked to load the bases. Logan Driscoll slipped a double just past the first base bag, scoring Qsar and Infante, tying the game 5-5. Pedro Martinez and Brett Wisely both capitalized with sacrifice flies, increasing the lead to 7-5.
Nick Gonzales added a run for the Grasshoppers in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI double, cutting into Bowling Green’s lead 7-6. In the fifth, Will Matthiessen led off with a game-tying homer and Liover Peguero gave Greensboro the lead with an RBI single in the sixth, 8-7.
It took until the top of the ninth for Bowling Green to score again, taking the lead against Greensboro reliever Enmanuel Mejia. Brett Wisley started it off with a single and advance to second on a Witherspoon base-hit. Curtis Mead singled to center and the ball rolled under the glove of Grasshoppers centerfielder Matt Gorski, scoring Wisely and Witherspoon, giving Bowling Green a 9-8 advantage. Edwards added insurance with a sacrifice fly, plating Mead, and making it a 10-8 lead. Angel Felipe closed out the Grasshoppers in the ninth, securing a game one victory, 10-8.
Seymour tossed 2.2 innings, allowing five runs on two hits while walking three and striking out seven in a no-decision. Evan McKendry hurled 1.1 innings, surrendering one run on three hits while striking out two. Carlos Garcia walked two and gave up two runs on three hits with a blown save. Trey Cumbie pitched 1.1 perfect innings while striking out two. Felipe (1-0) picked up the win after pitching 2.0 perfect frames with three strikeouts.
Notes: Witherspoon had his first post-season game with multiple RBIs… His homer is his second career in the playoffs… Driscoll had his second career multi-RBI game in the playoffs… Edwards had his second career multi-RBI game in the post-season… Seymour’s 2.2 innings is his shortest outing with the Hot Rods this season… Five runs is also the most he has given up in a game at any level this year… Mead, Infante, and Williams all collected their first career post-season hits… This was the sixth post-season appearance for Bowling Green in franchise history… Thursday was also their first playoff game since winning the Midwest League Championship in 2018… The Hot Rods and Grasshoppers play the second game of a five-game championship series on Friday with a 12:05 PM CT first pitch… The Hot Rods send RH Taj Bradley (0-0, 0.00) against Greensboro RH Quinn Priester (0-0, 0.00)… Fans can catch all of the action by listening through the MiLB First Pitch app, tuning into WBGN 94.5 FM and 1340 AM, or visiting https://www.milb.com/bowling-green/fans/audio-listen-live
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