MIDLAND, Mich. – With one swing of the bat, Great Lakes Loons outfielder Starling Heredia sent the game to extra innings. One inning later, Mitchell Hansen’s run handed the Loons a 6-5 walk-off victory on Monday at Dow Diamond.
The Bowling Green Hot Rods (22-14) jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning on an RBI single off the bat of Zach Rutherford. One hitter later, Ronaldo Hernandez flew out, but it was enough to score Rutherford.
The Loons (11-23) matched Bowling Green and eventually took a 3-2 edge in the bottom of the first. Jared Walker hit an RBI single and Starling Heredia delivered a two-RBI single off Drew Strotman.
The top of the fourth featured more runs from Bowling Green, as Adrian Rondon doubled in Carl Chester and Jim Haley hit his first home run of the season for a 5-3 lead. The Loons got a run back in the bottom of the frame on an RBI groundout from Ramon Rodriguez, but still trailed by one-run.
After missing the 2017 season with Tommy John surgery, Loons right-hander Andre Jackson made his professional debut. He finished allowing three runs (two earned) on three hits and three walks in 3.1 innings pitched. He struck out two hitters. On the other side of the ball, Bowling Green starter Drew Strotman went 6.0 innings deep. He gave up four runs (two earned) on four hits and two walks with five strikeouts.
Bowling Green reliever Riley O’Brien took the Loons to their final out before Heredia smashed a solo home run to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth.
Aneurys Zabala pitched the final out of the eighth and the entire ninth and 10th innings. With runners on the corners and two outs in the 10th frame, Zabala struck out Hernandez to keep the game knotted at five.
Hansen, a recent addition to the Loons, started the bottom of the 10th on second base and advanced to third. A wild pitch by Hunter Schryver with Brandon Montgomery at the plate allowed Hansen to score for a 6-5 walk-off win.
Heredia went 3-for-4 with two runs scored, one triple, one home run and three RBI, raising his batting average to .192 on the season. He was a double shy of the cycle. Jared Walker and Brayan Morales were the other Great Lakes hitters to earn hits off the Hot Rods.
The Loons and Hot Rods return to Dow Diamond on Tuesday for School Kids Day. First pitch is at 10:35 a.m.
The Great Lakes Loons have been the Single-A partner of the Los Angeles Dodgers since the team’s inception in 2007. Dow Diamond serves as the team’s home and also houses the Michigan Baseball Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity, and ESPN 100.9-FM. For tickets or information about the Loons, call 989-837-BALL or visit Loons.com.
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