The Bowling Green Hot Rods wrapped up a near-perfect homestand with an 8-6 victory Sunday against the Rome (Ga.) Braves at Bowling Green Ballpark.
One night after having its franchise-record 11-game win streak snapped, Bowling Green (50-22) scored the final six runs to rally past Rome and finish the 12-game homestand with an 11-1 record.
“I told the guys that in all of my years as a player or a coach I have never had an 11-1 homestand,” Bowling Green manager Jeff Smith said. “That’s pretty amazing stuff there. We are playing good baseball and it is someone different every night.”
Rome jumped out to an early lead with a three-run homer by Jesse Franklin in the first inning, but the Hot Rods' Hill Alexander answered with a two-run homer in the bottom of the second to cut the deficit to 3-2.
Franklin added a solo homer in the fourth and Kevin Josephina made the score 6-2 with a two-run double in the fifth.
The Hot Rods' comeback began in the sixth with an RBI single by Connor Hollis and a two-run homer from Jordan Qsar that trimmed the deficit to one.
One inning later, Pedro Martinez’s two-run double gave Bowling Green its first lead of the night, with Hollis providing some insurance with an RBI double that scored Martinez.
Carlos Garcia tossed a scoreless eighth and Tanner Dodson closed it out with a perfect ninth to secure the win.
“It was one of those games where inevitably you were going to come out a little flat – especially after last night’s game,” Smith said. “We have been playing intense games for a while. We initially were hoping to take (batting practice) on the field to get a little energy going, a little fun going. It just didn’t work out with the rain and they came out and jumped on us pretty good.
“Hill’s home run got us back in it and Qsar’s home run was huge.”
John Doxakis earned the win, allowing three runs in five innings.
Martinez and Hollis paced the offense with two hits each.
Just hours after the Charleston RiverDogs became the first minor league team to reach 50 wins this season, the Hot Rods joined their fellow Tampa Bay Rays affiliate in the 50-win club.
Charleston is the Low-A affiliate of the Rays.
“It is a cool thing for the guys, a lot of hard work, but it is even cooler that we have two teams in our organization that have done it,” Smith said. “It’s really about getting after it every day. I think we go out and try to make players better every day. As long as we make each player better, we are going to get the results at the end.”
Bowling Green improved to 20-10 against Rome, 29-7 at home and 19-9 when the opponent scores first. … The pitching staff had its string of eight straight games with 10 or more strikeouts snapped in the win. … Bowling Green will head to Aberdeen (Md.) for a six-game series. Game one is scheduled for 6 p.m. CDT Tuesday.