The Bowling Green Hot Rods opened the season with a 5-2 win over South Bend (Ind.) on Thursday at Bowling Green Ballpark.
It was the fifth opening day win in six seasons for the Hot Rods, who used a grand slam from catcher Oscar Hernandez to get the win.
Starter Jake Faria and two relievers combined to scatter five hits.
Here are post game comments from manager Michael Johns and Hernandez
“It was a fun game to watch. Whether it is the first game of the season or the 100th game of the season, I thought we played well. Defensively, I thought we played really well. Faria did a really nice job pitching with his fast ball. Our bullpen was really good tonight throwing strikes. It was fun to watch and play tonight.”
On Faria’s performance
“I thought his fast ball was really good tonight. His off speed stuff is usually better than that. He threw enough in the strike zone to set up his fast ball. Once he got out of the first inning I felt pretty comfortable. For me the first inning was the tell-tail sign for him. He really looked comfortable and looked like he had been there for the whole year. It was fun to watch him.”
On lifting Faria two outs shy of qualifying for a win
“It stinks because you want him in to get the win. He certainly deserved it. But with his first outing and his first year at this level there was really no debate. Once he hit 75 we had to get him out of there. Maybe if there was a runner on first and a chance of a ground ball double play maybe we give him another batter. For him to go two more batters it certainly would have been stretching the limits to get him a win.”
On the team going hitless after Hernandez’s third inning slam
“I think both pitchers settled in. Their starter had really good stuff. The guy they brought in after him was really good too. We struggled a little bit later in the game, but luckily that big pop was enough.”
“We have good pitchers in Bowling Green right now. We have a nice team. When I hit the home run I told the pitchers to keep the ball down, throw it in the zone, and get ground balls.”
On the grand slam
“I was looking for a good pitch to make good contact. I got a home run. That was good. I was excited.
That was a nice start. It’s a new league for me. I was excited to play good with a lot of fans.”