The Bowling Green Hot Rods settled for a series split against the Greensboro (N.C.) Grasshoppers after dropping a 13-5 decision in Sunday’s finale at Bowling Green Ballpark.

Greensboro (31-23), which took control early in the finale and never looked back, won the final two games of the six-game series to earn a 3-3 split. It’s the first time this season that Bowling Green (34-18) has lost back-to-back home games.

“You look back at the series – you get a split and you are missing a catcher (Blake Hunt) and you are missing a shortstop (Greg Jones) almost the whole series,” Bowling Green manager Jeff Smith said. “That’s a big difference in what we usually have in our lineup. Having a split, we will take it and we know we are going to be competitive with them the rest of the season. They are a good baseball team.”

Greensboro scored six runs in the first three innings, chasing starter Michael Mercado after 2 1/3 innings.

Bowling Green got on the board with a solo homer from Erik Ostberg in the fourth, but the Grasshoppers took advantage of Bowling Green miscues to strike for three more in the fifth. They added three more runs in the seventh to make the score 12-1.

The Hot Rods committed three errors in the game, leading to five unearned runs.

“They definitely capitalized on our mistakes,” Smith said. “We made three (errors). Against a team like that, with that kind of pitching, if you start giving them a six-run lead or higher it’s tough to come back.”

Bowling Green kept battling, with an RBI single from Jacson McGowan in the seventh and homers from Niko Hulsizer and Grant Witherspoon in the eighth, trimming the deficit to eight before Greensboro added one more run in the ninth to cap the scoring.

“That’s a big thing that we took as a positive – at the end of the game the guys didn’t throw any at-bats away,” Smith said. “They kept having good at-bats. It’s easy to go up there and swing at first pitches, but they grinded out at-bats and put up a few more runs against their guys, which is good to see.”

Witherspoon and McGowan paced the offense with two hits each.

Bowling Green heads into a series at Rome (Ga.) with a four-game lead over Greensboro in the High A-East Southern Division and half a game ahead of Hudson Valley (N.Y.) for the league’s best record. The top two teams advance to the playoffs.


Sunday’s attendance was a season-high 6,098. … Hulsizer and Witherspoon have homered in three straight games. … RHP Justin Sterner, recently acquired in a deal with the Miami Marlins, was added to the roster prior to Sunday’s game. … Bowling Green fell to 9-14 this season when outhit, 15-9 when the opponent scores first.{&end}

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

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