For the Bowling Green Hot Rods, a lack of execution was a good thing in Thursday's 6-5 walk-off win over Wisconsin at Bowling Green Ballpark.
Leonardo Reginatto and Tommy Coyle both failed to get down sacrifice bunts in the ninth inning, only to come up with key hits – including Coyle's game-winning, two-run triple down the right-field line.
“That’s not necessarily how you draw it up," BG manager Jared Sandberg said. "That game was so much up and down. I know Tommy was extremely disappointed to not get the bunt down, but I’m sure he’s ecstatic to get the walk-off triple.”
Bowling Green (56-39, 18-9 second half) trailed 5-4 in the bottom of the ninth after Wisconsin scored two runs in the top of the inning.
The Hot Rods' Andrew Toles then started the game-winning rally with a lead-off walk.
Reginatto tried to lay down a sacrifice bunt, but took a strike and fouled a bunt off before swinging away and hitting a soft single to left field.
Coyle followed Reginatto and fouled off two bunt attempts before dropping a soft liner on the chalk down the right-field line for the game-winner.
“It’s a little embarrassing when you don’t get the bunt down, but it’s always nice when you make it up with a hit," Coyle said. "You kind of feel like you’ve let your team down a little bit, but you still have to go out there and compete. You still have one strike left. I just tried to battle. (Wisconsin pitcher Jono Armold) was throwing some cutters and stuff that was breaking in. I was able to fight it off and lay it right on the line. I got lucky there."
Coyle's hit was the fourth lead change in the final three innings.
The Hot Rods led 2-1 after six, but Wisconsin (40-51, 11-15) took the lead with two runs in the seventh – including a solo home run from Victor Roache.
Coyle tied the score with an RBI single in the bottom of the seventh, then regained a 4-3 advantage on Patrick Leonard's solo home run in the eighth.
That lead wouldn't hold up, though, as the Timber Rattlers used a fielder's choice and a throwing error by catcher Luke Maile to take the lead in the ninth and set the stage for Bowling Green's game-winning rally.
“It’s definitely nice, especially knowing the pitchers threw well tonight and they battled," Coyle said."We wanted to put some runs up for them. It was a see-saw battle all night, so it was nice to come out on top.”
Maile and Leonardo had three hits each for the Hot Rods, while Coyle and Tyler Goeddel added two hits each.
Nick Sawyer earned the win in relief and improved to 2-2. He allowed two runs – one earned – in two innings.
Starter Dylan Floro went a career-high seven innings, allowing three runs – two earned – on five hits with seven strikeouts and a walk.
“He was able to pitch contact early to limit the pitch count, and he was able to get some swing and misses when he needed to," Sandberg said. "He was able to execute his fastball on both sides of the plate. His slider and change-up were below the barrels (of the bat). They were swing and miss pitches tonight. It was just a tremendous effort by him.”
Bowling Green will look to complete the sweep when the series concludes at 7:05 p.m. today. Hot Rods right-hander Reinaldo Lopez (4-4, 2.52) will face Wisconsin righty Eric Semmelhack (1-4, 4.89).