Eastlake, Ohio — A solid effort from starting pitcher Grant Hockin wasn’t enough as the Bowling Green Hot Rods pitching staff was too much for the Lake County Captains bats Saturday night. The Captains fell, 4-3 to drop to 6-8 on the season.
Hockin ran into early issues in the second inning thanks in part to Nolan Jones’s fifth error of the season.
With a runner on second and one out, Jones botched the transfer on a weakly-hit ground ball, setting up runners on the corner with one out. Back-to-back singles and a Hockin balk allowed three runs (two earned) to cross home plate, giving the Hot Rods the early three-run lead.
Brendan McKay, the Tampa Bay Rays number three prospect and a two-way player, set down the first seven Captains he faced before giving up a soft line drive single to Mike Rivera in the third. McKay finished his day with seven strikeouts and two hits allowed across four shutout innings.
Captains manager Luke Carlin said he was impressed with McKay’s approach on the mound.
The Hot Rods added to their lead in the fifth by way of a sacrifice fly off the bat of Zacrey Law. On the play, Captains center fielder Austen Wade displayed his arm strength by doubling-up Carl Chester at third.
Hockin’s day ended after allowing just two earned runs (four total) over six innings of work — the longest outing of his career.
The Captains bats finally came through in the eighth inning when Jorma Rodriguez connected for a two-run home run — his first of the season — to cut the Hot Rod lead in half.
Jose Vicente added a solo shot of his own in the ninth to bring the Captains within one, but the late rally fell short.
The Captains will look to salvage a win to end the series tomorrow.
Photo by Matthew Johns