The Bowling Green Hot Rods continued their dominance against West Michigan with a 5-3 win Monday at Bowling Green Ballpark.

Bowling Green (53-35 overall, 14-4 second half) got a quality start from Caleb Sampen and a three-run homer from Izzy Wilson to complete the sweep of the three-game series and improve to 10-1 against West Michigan this season – 7-0 at Bowling Green Ballpark. The Hot Rods are 13-1 at home against the Whitecaps over the last two seasons.

“We’ve been playing them really well,” BG manager Reinaldo Ruiz said. “Hopefully we will continue to do that when we face those guys again next month. Hopefully we can continue that momentum.”

West Michigan (28-59, 7-11) got on the board first with doubles from Sam McMillian and Ulrich Bojarski, but Sampen settled in after that, allowing two hits over the next five frames to give the Hot Rods offense a chance to get going.

Jonathan Aranda tied the score in the fourth on an RBI single and BG took the lead for good on an RBI single by Osmy Gregorio one inning later.

Wilson gave the Hot Rods some breathing room in the seventh. After a two-out walk to Gregorio put two runners on, Wilson lined a pitch just over the wall in right for his third home run since joining the Hot Rods – a three-run shot that made the score 5-1.

“It was all about maintaining my patience,” Wilson said. “I felt like my first three at-bats I gave them away – being impatient, missing my pitches. I just laid back a little bit, took it a little bit easier and looked for a good pitch to drive and had good results.”

West Michigan threatened in the ninth, with a two-run single by Rey Rivera cutting the deficit to two, but Cristopher Ogando escaped the inning without any further damage.

Sampen improved to 6-3, allowing one run and four hits with six strikeouts and a walk in six innings. It was Sampen’s team-leading ninth quality start of the season.

“That’s a key for our success in the second half,” Ruiz said. “I think the starting pitching is doing a really good job and the bullpen is holding the lead. McGee did a really good job yesterday and Sampen was nice (today).”

Aranda paced the offense with three hits, while Ford Proctor and Grant Witherspoon added two hits each.


Wilson continues to enjoy a resurgence since signing with the Tampa Bay Rays and joining the Hot Rods on June 25, five days after his release by the Atlanta Braves.

The outfielder appeared in his 12th game Monday since joining the Hot Rods – hitting his third home run, one more than he had in 42 games with the Florida Fire Frogs in the Florida State League. Wilson is hitting .270 with a .927 OPS in 37 at-bats with the Hot Rods, driving in eight runs.

“It’s exciting, probably the best part of my career going on right now,” Wilson said. “It’s a good atmosphere in the clubhouse and on the field. It’s a good group of guys that are getting along very well. We are just going to keep at it as a team and keep having good results.”


Bowling Green has five series sweeps this season, including three of the last four. … Gregorio extended his hit streak to 10 games. … Proctor and Witherspoon both recorded their 20th multi-hit game of the season. … Bowling Green improved to 30-14 at home, 17-5 in day games.


The Hot Rods will be off Tuesday before opening a three-game series against Beloit (Wisc.) at 6:35 p.m. Wednesday. It’s the first of 12 straight against Midwest League Western Division opponents.

Left-hander Matthew Liberatore (6-1, 1.55) is scheduled to start for the Hot Rods. The 2018 first rounder had his shortest outing of the season in his last start against Dayton (Ohio) on Thursday, allowing two runs – one earned – in 4 1/3 innings. He is 1-1 with a 0.98 ERA in three starts in the second half and 4-0 with a 1.98 ERA in five starts at Bowling Green Ballpark.

Beloit has yet to announce a starter for Wednesday’s opener.{&end}

– Follow Hot Rods reporter Micheal Compton on Twitter @mcompton428 or visit


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