Dragons beat Bowling Green on walk-off single
Dayton, Ohio—Michael Beltre’s two-out infield single brought in John Sansone from third base with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Dayton Dragons defeated the Bowling Green Hot Rods 5-4 on Thursday night. The win was the Dragons third “walk-off” win of the 2017 season.
With the Dayton win and a loss by West Michigan, the Dragons moved back into sole possession of first place in the Midwest League East Division. The lead West Michigan by one game and lead South Bend by a game and a half. The Dragons are 16-4 over their last 20 games and 27-13 on the year. The top two teams in the division will qualify for post-season play over the course of the 70-game first half season.
The game was tied 4-4 after Bowling Green scored four runs in the fourth inning. Neither team scored again until the Dragons winning rally in the ninth, which began when Sansone lined a single to left field to lead off the inning. Sansone advanced to second on a wild pitch and went to third when Brantley Bell grounded out to second. With Sansone at third and one out, Luis Gonzalez struck out for the second out, and Beltre quickly fell behind in the count 0-2. But on a 1-2 pitch, the left-handed hitter connected on a hard one-hopper to the left of Hot Rods third baseman Adrian Rondon. Rondon made a diving stop, but his rushed throw to first base was off target as Beltre reached safely to allow Sansone to score and end the game.
The Dragons took an early lead with two runs in the first inning. T.J. Friedl walked to start the inning and scored from first on Jose Siri’s triple. Tyler Stephenson singled to left with one out to drive in Siri and make it 2-0. In the third, the Dragons added two more runs. With two outs, James Vasquez doubled over the head of the center fielder and scored on Sansone’s double to left. Bell followed with a double to center to bring in Sansone and make it 4-0.
But Bowling Green battled back to tie the game in the fourth, getting a pair of two-run home runs in the inning from Robbie Tenerowicz and Adrian Rondon.
The Dragons collected eight hits. Sansone and Vasquez each had two.
Dragons starting pitcher Andrew Jordan worked six and two-thirds innings, allowing four hits and four runs with one walk and six strikeouts. Andy Cox replaced Jordan and ran into problems in the eighth, walking the first two batters in the inning. Joel Kuhnel replaced Cox and allowed a broken bat single to load the bases with one out. But Kuhnel struck out the next two batters and then got an inning-ending grounder to the mound to strand three runners. Jesse Adams (3-0) pitched a scoreless top of the ninth to earn the win.
The Dragons host the Hot Rods (17-21) in the second game of the series on Friday at 7:00 p.m. Tony Santillan (2-2, 3.26) will start for the Dragons against Bowling Green’s Ethan Clark (1-0, 2.33). The series continues through Sunday.