The Rome Braves could not hold onto a 4-1 lead late, ultimately losing in 11 innings to the Bowling Green Hot Rods 7-5 Friday at State Mutual Stadium.

The division-leading Hot Rods have now taken eight of the last nine games against the Braves.

Rome (20-20) wasted no time finding the scoreboard, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first. Kevin Josephina got the scoring started with an RBI single to center, plating Riley Delgado. Josephina would later score the third run off an RBI single from Jesse Franklin V.

Bowling Green’s Niko Hulsizer continued his hot hitting, smashing his ninth home run of the season to get the Hot Rods on the board in the top of the fourth frame.

Logan Brown got a run back in the bottom half of the fourth as an RBI single scored Franklin for a 4-1 Rome edge.

Bowling Green would tie matters up in the top of the eighth inning with a solo home run, a groundout double play and a two-out RBI double.

In extra innings, Bowling Green’s Blake Hunt, who had hit the game-tying double in the eighth inning, had one more big hit up his sleeve as Hill Alexander scored on the drive to left for a 5-4 advantage.

Two batters later, Grant Witherspoon connected on the first pitch he saw for a two-run home run to center field, his sixth of the year, giving the Hot Rods a 7-4 edge.

Rome would cut the score to 7-5 when Cody Milligan singled home Beau Philip.

Bowling Green’s Alan Strong earned his second victory of 2021 while Rome’s Tyler Ferguson suffered his first loss.

Rome collected 13 hits on the night, as Milligan and Franklin each recorded three hits.

Rome and Bowling Green continue their series through Sunday. The Braves then travel to Aberdeen for the first of two six-game road series.

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