SOUTH BEND, Ind.--- Catcher Oscar Hernandez and third baseman Darryl George each drove in three runs as the Bowling Green Hot Rods (15-22, 47-59) continued their dominance over the South Bend Silver Hawks (22-15, 62-44) with an 8-7 win on Tuesday night at Four Winds Field.
The Hot Rods’ win put their record against South Bend at 11-4 on the season while only managing to go 36-55 against the rest of the Midwest League so far this season.
Bowling Green, the Class-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays, took the lead in the top of the third inning.
With one out, second baseman Kean Wong lined a double to center. Hernandez then drove in his first run of the game by dunking a single into center that plated Wong for a 1-0 lead.
The Hot Rods extended the lead in the top of the fourth. First baseman Alexander Simon led off the inning with an infield single to second.
Left fielder Julian Ridings then struck out but on the third strike, Simon stole second and went around to third when catcher Michael Perez’s throw went into center field.
George grounded a single up the middle through a drawn in infield to make it 2-0.
South Bend, the Class-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, came back and took the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning with some help from the Bowling Green defense.
First baseman Daniel Palka led off by beating out an infield single to short. With one out, Perez lined a double into the right field corner that put runners on second and third.
Second baseman Jamie Westbrook flew out to right for the second out of the inning. Left fielder Fidel Pena came up and hit a weak grounder to first that should have ended the inning. However, it was bobbled multiple times by Simon and Pena reached on the error while both Palka and Perez scored to tie the game at 2-2.
Ben Griset (W, 1-6) entered in relief of Isaac Gil and he surrendered a hit to designated hitter Marty Herum that put runners at the corners. Right fielder Daniel Bowman gave the Hawks the 3-2 lead by lining a single to left that scored Pena from third.
The Hot Rods tied it up right away in the top of the fifth inning. Shortstop Pat Blair led off with an infield single to third. Wong grounded out to short, advancing Blair to second.
Hernandez then drove in his second run of the game with a single to center that tied the game at 3-3. The game would not remain tied for long as Bowling Green got another run off Hawks starter John Omahen (L, 4-6) in the top of the sixth to take a 4-3 lead.
Ridings lined a single to center to lead off the inning. Ridings stole second and then went to third on a single by George. Omahen got right fielder Elias Torres to ground out to third for the first out of the inning with George moving up to second and Ridings holding at third. Center fielder Spencer Edwards gave Bowling Green the lead with a ground out to short that scored Ridings.
The wheels came off for the South Bend pitching staff in the top of the seventh as the Hot Rods scored four runs to take an 8-3 lead.
With one out, Hernandez turned on a 2-1 pitch from Omahen and launched it over the left field fence for a solo home run and a 5-3 lead.
Designated hitter Armando Araiza walked and that was the end of the line for Omahen as the Hawks called on Jose Jose out of the bullpen. Jose surrendered a single to Simon to put runners at first and second with one out.
After Ridings was retired on a routine fly ball to left, George stepped to the plate and dropped a fly ball in between the first baseman, second baseman, and right fielder. The ball took a strange bounce past Bowman in right and resulted in a two run triple for a 7-3 Hot Rods lead.
George then came around to score on a fielding error by third baseman Joe Munoz as he was unable to snag a grounder hit by Torres, giving the Hot Rods an 8-3 lead.
South Bend refused to go quietly into the night as the Hawks plated four runs of their own in the bottom of the seventh inning to pull within 8-7.
Shortstop Andrew Velazquez led off with a single to center. Griset then retired Taylor on an infield popup for the first out of the inning before walking Palka.
The walk brought the Bowling Green manager out of the dugout and he signaled to the bullpen for Andrew Hanse. Hanse surrendered a single to Munoz that loaded the bases.
Perez drew a walk that forced in a run and cut the lead to 8-4. Westbrook then appeared to hit into a 1-2-3 double play but the play was ruled dead due to catcher’s interference and everyone advanced one base, scoring Palka and making it an 8-5 game. P
ena then singled through the right side, scoring both Munoz and Perez to cut the lead to 8-7.
The Hawks threatened to tie the game in both the eighth and ninth innings but could not push the tying run across.
In the eighth, the Hawks had Velazquez on third with nobody out but failed to score.
Then in the ninth, Brad Schreiber (S, 1) stranded runners on first and second when he got Bowman to fly out to right to end the game.
South Bend and Bowling Green continue their series on Wednesday night at 7:05pm. Left-hander Chris Kirsch (6-6, 2.82 ERA) comes off the inactive list to get the start for the Hot Rods while right-hander Blake Perry (5-3, 4.35 ERA) gets the ball for the Silver Hawks.
It is Kids Eat Free Wednesday where kids 12 and under get a voucher at the gate for a free hot dog, chips, and a drink.
There will also be a special Fireworks Extravaganza taking place after the game on Wednesday night.
So come on out to Four Winds Field to catch the rare mid-week fireworks show.