It took four hours and 11 innings to do it, but the Bowling Green Hot Rods collected their 83rd win of the season Sunday, setting a new franchise record.
The Hot Rods beat the Fort Wayne TinCaps 6-5 thanks to a walk-off single by Jacob Cronenworth, who rejoined the team from High-A on Saturday. Brett Sullivan drove in three runs to give him 81 RBI this season, tying him with 2011 Hot Rods shortstop Derek Dietrich for the franchise’s second-best season total. Phil Wunderlich, who also played for Bowling Green in 2011, drove in 86 runs that season.
Carlos Belen drove in all five of Fort Wayne’s runs. Four of them scored on a go-ahead grand slam in the top of the 7th inning. Bowling Green responded with two runs in the bottom half of the inning, knotting the score at 5-5 until Cronenworth ended the game four innings later.
Bowling Green’s 83rd win of the season surpasses the total of the 2013 Hot Rods squad, a team that included eight future major-leaguers. Among them were Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Blake Snell and Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Andrew Toles, who won the Midwest League batting title that year with a .326 average.
The Hot Rods won the Eastern Division title for the second half of the season, pitting them in the playoffs against the second-half Eastern Division wild card Great Lakes Loons. Read this post for all the first-round matchups in the Midwest League playoffs, which begin Wednesday.