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MWL Series of the Week: Hot Rods Sweep TinCaps

With just a few weeks left in the first half of the Midwest League’s 2017 season, every game seems to have more of a playoff feel to it as we head towards the All-Star Break. This week’s featured Midwest League series pitted two teams against each other who were both looking to stave off elimination. The Fort Wayne TinCaps (18-36) and the Bowling Green Hot Rods (25-27) are both near the bottom of the Eastern division standings, and following the Hot Rods three game sweep in this series, the TinCaps are now just one game away from being mathematically eliminated in the first half. On the other end of the spectrum, the sweep may provide a little momentum for the Hot Rods as the Tampa Bay affiliate has won four straight and seven of their last ten.

Game one was all about the bats as 21 runs crossed the plate in Bowling Green’s 12-9 win. It was a 3-3 tie heading into the sixth when both offenses broke out. The visiting Hot Rods kicked off the top half of the frame with three runs. Jonah Heim led things off with his seventh double of the season before advancing on a wild pitch. TinCaps pitcher Will Headen would walk the next batter and find himself in a jam with runners on the corners and nobody out. Headen settled down and looked like he may work himself out of the tough spot after striking out Adrian Rondon and getting a bunt pop out from Josh Lowe. Unfortunately for the home team, Headen had two pretty hot hitters in the Bowling Green line up due up next. Garrett Whitley chased home one run on a single and Lucius Fox brought in two more runs on a double. The TinCaps answered by taking their first lead of the night in the bottom of the sixth as a three run homer from G.K. Young highlighted a five run inning for the home team.

Robbie Tenerowicz led off the top of the seventh with a solo home run to bring the Hot Rods within one. They would put up three more runs in their half of the seventh and add two more insurance runs in the top of the ninth and never look back in their 12-9 game one victory.

WP: Deivy Mendez (1-2) LP: Headean (1-3) S: Spencer Jones (3)

Bowling Green:

Fox: 3/6, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 2 R

Fort Wayne:

Jack Suwinski: 2/4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R

Pitching was the story in game two of the series as Hot Rods starter, Ethan Clark and reliever, Jayson McKinley combined for nine innings of one run, three hit ball, leading to a frustrated home Fort Wayne dugout. Clark went six innings in his outstanding start, allowing just two hits while striking out six and walking two. McKinley entered in the seventh and continued the dominance by allowing just one run and one hit over his three innings. McKinley also struck out three and walked one. The TinCaps lone run came in the bottom of the ninth when Jorge Ona led off with a double, advanced on a wild pitch, and scored when the defense conceded the run on a ground out. Ona had two of the club’s three hits on the day. The Hot Rods put up one run in each of the first four innings and an insurance run in the seventh to guarantee a series victory with a 5-1 win in game two.

WP: Clark(2-1) LP: Mason Thompson (0-2) S: McKinley (1)

Bowling Green:

Josh Lowe: 2/4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 R

Robbie Tenerowicz: 2/4, 1 HR

Fort Wayne:

Ona: 2/4, 2 2B, 1 R

Photo by Mathew Carper

Fort Wayne was looking to avoid the sweep in game three, especially since it would put them one game away from elimination in the first half. However, for the second time in the series, the Hot Rods offense would prove to be too much for the TinCaps to handle. Although Fort Wayne did take an early 2-0 lead in the bottom half of the first, the home team would not see the scoreboard again until the bottom of the ninth, at which point it was too little too late.

The visitors scored early and often in their third win of the series. A two run home run from Jesus Sanchez got the scoring started in the top of the second, then a combined eight runs in innings five through seven proved to be the final dagger. The interesting aspect of this game is that the 11 runs came on just nine hits in a matchup that saw the home team surrender a team total of seven walks while also committing three errors. Timely hitting proved to be the deciding factor as six of the Hot Rods nine hits came with runners in scoring position.

WP: Kenny Rosenberg (2-3) LP: Hansel Rodriguez (1-6)

Bowling Green:

Sanchez: 2/4, 1 HR, 2 RBI

Fort Wayne:

Brad Zunica: 2/3, 1 HR, 2 RBI

After falling to 18-36, the Fort Wayne TinCaps will open up a three game road series with the Dayton Dragons while the Bowling Green Hot Rods, who improved to 25-27, will head to Midland, Michigan to take on the Great Lakes Loons.  

Jake resides in Carrollton, GA and loves everything baseball. He is a lifelong Atlanta Braves fan and enjoys traveling to watch their Minor League teams. He graduated from the University of West Georgia with a Bachelor's Degree in Sport Management. Jake is also a certified personal trainer and has a passion for fitness and weight lifting. You can find his personal site at You can also reach out to Jake at

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