Grant Witherspoon homered and had four RBIs, but the Bowling Green Hot Rods dropped the third game of a six-game series to the Asheville Tourists 6-5 on Thursday at Bowling Green Ballpark.
The two teams will play the fourth game of the series on Friday with a 6:35 p.m. first pitch.
BG starter Jayden Murray and Tourists starter Jimmy Endersby entered into a pitcher’s duel in the third game of the series on Thursday, but the Hot Rods broke through in the third. In his first game with Bowling Green (6-3), Luis Trevino walked and with two outs Witherspoon hit a two-run homer to give BG a 2-0 lead. The homer was Witherspoon’s third of the season and first at Bowling Green Ballpark since 2019.
Asheville got one of those runs back in the top of the fourth, chasing Murray from the game. Scott Schreiber led off with a walk and with one out stole second. The throw to second from Hot Rods catcher Roberto Alvarez was errant and allowed Schreiber to take third. A.J. Lee followed up with a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Schreiber to make it a 2-1 game.
The Tourists took the lead against Hot Rods reliever Ezequiel Zabaleta in the sixth with the bases loaded. With one out, Zabaleta walked Schreiber and Alex Holderback before striking out Lee. A walk to Luis Santana loaded the bases for Luis Guerrero, who doubled to center field, scoring Schreiber and Holderback before Santana was thrown out on a relay at the plate to end the inning. The two-run double gave Asheville their first lead of the game, 3-1.
The Tourists scored insurances runs in the seventh and eighth to take a commanding 6-2 lead, but the Hot Rods rallied in the bottom of the eighth. Roberto Alvarez and Osmy Gregorio led off with doubles off the wall in right and both scored when Witherspoon doubled off the right-center field wall to make it a 6-4 game.
Witherspoon scored with two outs thanks to a Ruben Cardenas single, making it a one-run game at 6-5. BG got the tying run on base in the ninth, but couldn’t convert as Asheville closed out their first win of the series.
Murray held Asheville to one unearned run on two hits with two walks and six strikeouts. Tanner Dodson pitched a scoreless 1 1/3 innings with two strikeouts with one hit. Zabaleta (1-1) allowed two runs on one hit with three walks and two strikeouts in a loss and a blown save. Miller Hogan threw an inning out of the bullpen with one hit and an unearned run to go along with two strikeouts. Cristofer Ogando allowed two runs on a hit and a walk with four strikeouts.
The Hot Rods will send left-hander Joe LaSorsa (1-0, 0.00) to the mound against Tourists righty R.J. Freure (1-0, 3.86) on Friday.