Blake Hunt hit two home runs and drove in four for the Bowling Green Hot Rods in a 9-3 victory over the Aberdeen Ironbirds on Tuesday at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen, Md.
The Hot Rods (51-22) jumped on Aberdeen starter Ignacio Feliz in the second inning to take an early lead. Evan Edwards singled to center and with two outs Grant Witherspoon singled to center, moving Edwards to third. Jordan Qsar doubled off a corner wall in left, scoring both runners to give the Hot Rods a 2-0 lead.
Greg Jones led off the third inning with a walk against Feliz and scored when Curtis Mead singled to center, making it a 3-0 game. Edwards blasted his 13th homer of the season, a two-run shot, onto a rooftop in right to extend the lead to 5-0 while Blake Hunt followed with a solo shot of his own to give the Hot Rods a 6-0 advantage.
The Ironbirds (38-34) scored three in the bottom of the fifth, but Hunt gave the Hot Rods a six-run cushion again. Mead singled to center and went to second on a wild pitch before Edwards walked. Hunt hit his second home of the game and eighth of the season, with his three-run shot extending the Hot Rods' lead to 9-3. Bowling Green eventually went on to win by the same score.
Zack Trageton tossed 4 2/3 innings while allowing three runs on five hits with three walks and six strikeouts in a no-decision. Ezekiel Zabaleta (3-2) earned a win after working 2 1/3 scoreless innings while holding Aberdeen to two hits and a walk with two strikeouts. Trevor Brigden got the final nine outs of the game with a hit batsman and two strikeouts.
The second game of a six-game set begins with a 6:05 p.m. CT first pitch on Wednesday. The Hot Rods will send right-hander Michael Mercado (1-4, 5.90) to the mound against Ironbirds righty Brandon Young (0-0, 0.00).