The Bowling Green Hot Rods split a doubleheader with the Rome Braves on Saturday night at State Mutual Stadium in Rome, Ga.
The Hot Rods took the opener 8-4 before falling 4-3 in the nightcap.
Bowling Green (38-21) put the first run of the game on the board in the second inning against Braves starter Freddy Tarnok. Jordan Qsar hit his third homer of the series to give BG a lead, but a two-run shot by Jesse Franklin V in the bottom of the frame gave the Braves a one-run advantage.
The offense finally broke through for BG in the fifth, scoring seven runs in the frame. Pedro Martinez hit his third homer of the year to get things started, while Grant Witherspoon, Niko Hulsizer, Blake Hunt, Qsar and Erik Ostberg all had hits in a season-high seven run inning, giving Bowling Green an 8-2 lead.
Rome plated two more in the bottom of the fifth, but the Hot Rods went on to win game one 8-4.
Michael Mercado took a no-decision after tossing four innings while allowing four runs on four hits with four walks and three strikeouts. Christopher Gau (1-1) earned the win, tossing two scoreless innings with a hit and three strikeouts. Alan Strong pitched a spotless ninth, needing only 10 pitches.
The Hot Rods jumped out to an early lead in Game 2 against Jake McSteen, who started the contest for the Braves. Martinez reached on an error at first base and stole second. With one out, Curtis Mead singled to center, plating Martinez to give Bowling Green a 1-0 lead.
In the second, Jacson McGowan homered for the second time in the series and his 10th of the season, extending the Hot Rods' lead to 2-0. The homer was also the Hot Rods 100th of 2021, the third most in a season in franchise history.
The Braves (32-27) plated three runs in the bottom of the second to take the lead, with manager Kanekoa Texeria getting ejected during the frame. Rome took the lead and almost immediately a downpour started, sending the game into a delay with a 3-2 score in favor of the Braves.
The Hot Rods evened the score in the sixth against Braves reliever Indigo Diaz. Greg Jones led off the frame with a double to left-center. Curtis Mead Walked and with two outs Hill Alexander singled to right field, scoring Jones to make it 3-3 game.
It took extra innings to decide the contest, with the Hot Rods almost scoring the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth on a wild pitch, but the ball rebounded directly to catcher Rusber Estrada who tagged out Martinez at the plate to keep the game tied. Estrada drove in the winning run in the bottom of the frame, lifting the Braves to a 4-3 walk-off win to split the doubleheader.
Colby White opened the game, throwing an inning while allowing a hit with a strikeout in a no-decision. Joe La Sorsa did not record an out, but allowed three runs on three hits with a walk. Ezekiel Zabaleta pitched a hitless, scoreless 2 1/3 innings with two walks and three strikeouts. Trevor Brigden struck out two over 1 2/3 innings of work. Michael Costanzo walked three but did not allow a hit or run over two innings while striking out three. Justin Sterner (0-1) took the loss after allowing an unearned run with a hit in the final inning.
The Hot Rods and Braves play the series finale with a 1 p.m. CT first pitch. The Hot Rods send left-hander Jacob Lopez (2-1, 2.95) to the mound against Braves righty Alan Rangel (3-5, 4.15).