Eighth Inning struggles doom Hot Rods in 6-5 loss to Asheville

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – The Bowling Green Hot Rods (12-7) dropped the series opener against the Asheville Tourists (9-9) by a score of 6-5 Tuesday night at McCormick Field in Asheville, South Carolina. The two teams will play game two of the six game series Wednesday night with a 5:35 PM CT first pitch.

The Hot Rods offense struck first, plating two runs against Tourists starting pitcher Jimmy Endersby. With two outs, Jonathan Aranda and Ruben Cardenas both singled, and Evan Edwards drove them in with a double to left-center field, giving the Hot Rods an early 2-0 lead.

Bowling Green extended their lead in the top of the third off Endersby, starting with a leadoff double by Pedro Martinez. Martinez stole third and when Aranda struck out swinging later in the at-bat, the ball rolled away from Tourists catcher Tyler Krabbe, allowing Martinez to score and push the Hot Rods lead to 3-0.

Asheville finally got to Hot Rods starter Jayden Murray in the third inning when Alex McKenna hit a solo home run. In the fourth inning, Colin Barber added another solo shot, cutting the Bowling Green lead to 3-2.

In the top of the seventh inning, the Hot Rods faced Tourists reliever Matt Rupenthal, who walked Jordan Qsar with one out. Qsar stole second base and scored on a Martinez RBI single, expanding Bowling Green’s lead to 4-2.

With one out in the top of the eighth, Edwards walked and moved to third on Grant Witherspoon’s single. Rupenthal balked and brought Edwards home to give Bowling Green a 5-2 lead.

Asheville used two homers to score four runs off Bowling Green reliever Cristofer Ogando in the bottom of the eighth. Alex McKenna singled with two outs and was brought home with an Enmanual Valdez two-run homer. Scott Schreiber singled to center in the next at-bat before Matthew Barefoot homered and gave the Tourists a 6-5 lead. The Hot Rods went down in order in the top of the ninth, losing by a final score of 6-5.

Jayden Murray made his fourth start, pitching 5.0 innings, while giving up two hits and two runs, walking two and striking out four. Mikey York pitched a perfect 2.0 innings and struck out two. Ogando (0-1) picked up his first loss of the season after pitching 1.0 inning, surrendering four hits, four runs, and two home runs while striking out one with a blown save.