BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) — Dillon Paulson hit a grand slam on a four-home run night as the Bowling Green Hot Rods (2-1, 78-52) won the League Divisional Series of the South Atlantic in a 7-1 win over the Rome Braves (1-2, 74-54) Friday night. The Hot Rods take on the Aberdeen IronBirds in Game 1 of the SAL Championship on Sunday at Bowling Green Ballpark with a first pitch at 1:05 p.m. CT. Tickets start at just $5. Fans can buy their tickets for Sunday here: https://da6.glitnirticketing.com/daticket/web/stadiumg.php?event_id=413&status_id=2.
Johan Lopez continued his strong start to the playoffs with a two-run homer off starter Blake Burkhalter to open the scoring. Rome responded with a solo homer in the third to cut the lead to one. Paulson came to the plate with the bases loaded in fourth and a new pitcher for Rome, left-handed reliever Jake McSteen. Paulson greeted him with a grand slam to give Bowling Green a 6-1 lead. Lopez homered for the second time in the seventh with a first home run off Austin Smith to make it 7-1 Hot Rods. The bullpen shut out Rome, as Bowling Green won the Division Series in a 7-1 victory.
Ben Peoples (1-0) took the win in 5.1 innings, allowing a run on five hits with two walks and six strikeouts. Austin Vernon hit five shots in 1.2 goalless frames with a walk. Evan Reifert had a strikeout in a scoreless eighth. Conor Dryer finished the game for the Hot Rods, allowing a hit and scoring a strikeout in a scoreless ninth.
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