Jacob Lopez struck out a career-high 10 batters and the Bowling Green Hot Rods broke the team’s single-season home run record in an 8-1 win over the Winston-Salem Dash on Saturday at Bowling Green Ballpark.
The Hot Rods (44-21) took an early lead against Winston-Salem starter Johan Dominguez in the second inning. Evan Edwards walked to lead off the inning and Erik Ostberg hit his sixth homer of the season 391 feet to give Bowling Green a 2-0 advantage.
Ostberg’s homer was the 107th home run of the year for the Hot Rods, breaking the club’s record for most in a season. The record was previously held by the 2011 team, which hit 106 long balls over the course of a 140-game season. The 2021 Hot Rods broke that record in just 65 games.
Bowling Green scored another run in the fifth with Dominguez still on the mound. Jacson McGowan worked a leadoff walk and advanced to second on a base-hit from Luis Trevino. Greg Jones grounded out to first to bring in McGowan and expand the Hot Rods lead to 3-0.
The Hot Rods scored a run in the sixth with Dash reliever Caleb Freeman on the mound. Jordan Qsar led off with a double and came in to score on an Edwards base hit to increase the edge to 4-0. They added two more in the bottom of the seventh on an error and a Qsar single to expand the advantage to 6-0.
The Dash (26-39) scored their only run in the top of the eighth, but Bowling Green responded in the bottom of the frame. Ostberg led off with a walk and advanced to second on a base hit from Michael Gigliotti. McGowan singled to bring in Ostberg, and in the next at-bat, Trevino singled to score Gigiliotti to make it an 8-1 game. Ezequiel Zabaleta shut down the Dash in the ninth inning, resulting in a 8-1 win.
Lopez (3-1) struck out a career-high 10 batters over five innings while allowing just two hits in his third win of the season. Miller Hogan tossed two scoreless innings, giving up one hit and striking out four in his fifth hold of the year. Zabaleta gave up one run on four hits over two innings while striking out four.
The Hot Rods and Dash play the series finale on Sunday with a 5:35 p.m. first pitch. Bowling Green sends right-hander Alan Strong (5-0, 1.65) to the mound against Winston-Salem lefty Taylor Varnell (4-3, 2.89).