The Bowling Green Hot Rods completed the first six-game sweep in franchise history with an 8-5 win Sunday over Winston-Salem (N.C.) at Bowling Green Ballpark.
One night after setting the franchise record for homers in a season, Bowling Green (45-21) exploded for eight runs in the first three innings and held off a late charge by the Dash to complete the sweep and run its win streak to a season-high seven games.
“It’s very tough,” Hot Rods manager Jeff Smith said. “I’ve been on the other side of that, too. It’s tough both ways. One thing in this series for our guys is we really played good baseball and we never stopped. We were really able to take advantage of almost every mistake and that’s not always going to happen.”
The Hot Rods jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first, with Connor Hollis scoring on an acrobatic jump over the catcher diving to make a tag on a fielder’s choice, and a two-run double by Grant Witherspoon.
Winston-Salem plated two in the third to trim the deficit to one, but the Hot Rods exploded for five in the bottom of the third. Witherspoon cleared the bases with a three-run triple to center and Jacson McGowan followed with a two-run homer to make the score 8-2.
The Hot Rods didn’t score the rest of the way, but were able to maintain the lead despite the Dash scoring two runs in the fifth and one in the sixth.
Tanner Dodson earned the win in relief to improve to 3-0, while Colby White struck out five in two scoreless innings to earn his third save of the season.
Witherspoon had three hits, while Erik Ostberg and Pedro Martinez had two hits each.
“I think it was fun that we got a lot of our arms out there throwing good innings,” Smith said. “(Winston-Salem) kept fighting, but we were able to come back and put some runs on the board.”
CYCLE WATCH I
Witherspoon fell a homer shy of the franchise’s first cycle in Sunday’s win with his 3-for-4 night.
After his double in the first, triple in the third and single in the fifth, he had a chance for the cycle in the seventh but lined out hard to right field.
Smith said he didn’t know if Witherspoon knew he had a shot at the cycle, but Smith said he did.
“Going out that inning I kept asking myself if he gets to 3-0 what was I going to do,” Smith said. “He took a good whack at it, just it off the end of the bat.”
CYCLE WATCH II
While Witherspoon just missed the cycle, the Hot Rods were able to complete a team cycle in a five-batter span in the third inning.
Curtis Mead doubled to lead off the inning. After a walk to Jordan Qsar, Blake Hunt singled, Witherspoon tripled and McGowan homered to complete the team cycle in the inning.
HAVE A BREAK
The Hot Rods get a rare off day at home Monday before opening a six-game series against the Rome (Ga.) Braves on Tuesday at Bowling Green Ballpark.
Smith said while it would be nice to continue the momentum from the current win streak, the day off is good for the team.
“You definitely want to keep the momentum, but I think it will still be here on Tuesday,” Smith said. “I think the guys need a day away from the ballpark, a day away from baseball to get their minds clear and get back at it Tuesday.”