Hot Rods falter late in 3-2 loss to Rome Braves

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Ruben Cardenas continued his 21 game on-base streak for the Bowling Green Hot Rods (14-11) in a series-opening loss against the Rome Braves (15-10) Tuesday at Bowling Green Ballpark in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The two teams face-off in the second game of a six-game series Wednesday, with a 6:35 PM CT first pitch.

Rome scored the first run of the game in the top of the fourth inning off Bowling Green starter Evan McKendry. Michael Harris II hit a leadoff single and then stole second and third base. Bryce Ball brought him home with a sacrifice fly to give the Braves a 1-0 edge.

The Hot Rods tied the game in the bottom of the fifth against Braves reliever Coleman Huntley. Greg Jones reached base on a hit by pitch and stole second. Two batters later, Cardenas singled him home to even the score at 1-1.

In the top of the sixth inning the Braves got to Hot Rods reliever Joe La Sorsa, scoring one run. With one out, Kevin Josephina hit a solo homer to recapture the lead for Rome, 2-1. In the bottom of the eighth Niko Hulsizer hit a solo home run against Braves pitcher Trey Riley to tie the game 2-2.

The Braves regained the lead for the final time in the top of the ninth inning off Bowling Green pitcher Ezequiel Zabaleta. Jesse Franklin V led off with a solo home run to right to give the Braves 3-2 lead. Bowling Green went down in order in the ninth, falling 3-2 in the rain.

McKendry tossed 5.0 innings, allowing one run on two hits, walking one and striking out seven in a no-decision. La Sorsa went 3.0 innings and gave up one run and three hits while walking three and striking out four. Zabaleta (2-2) pitched 1.0 inning, giving up one hit, one run, and one walk while striking out one in a loss.