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Dragons win on 10th inning walk-off

V_ DRAGONS VS. CEDAR RAPIDS2.jpg

Dayton, Ohio—Jeter Downs blooped a hit to shallow right field to drive in Morgan Lofstrom from second base with the winning run with one out in the bottom of the 10th inning as the Dayton Dragons defeated the Cedar Rapids Kernels 5-4 on Wednesday night. The Dragons completed a sweep of the three-game series and won their ninth game in their last 10. A crowd of 8,041 saw the Dragons improve their home record to 12-3 on the year.

Dragons relievers Ryan Nutof and John Ghyzel pitched out of difficult jams in the ninth and 10th innings to keep the game tied. In the ninth, Nutof saw the Kernels put a runner at third with no one out, but he got three strikeouts to work out of trouble. In the 10th, the Kernels had a man at third with one out, and Ghyzel notched a pair of strikeouts to keep the score even.

The Dragons opened the bottom of the 10th, by rule, with a runner at second base as Morgan Lofstrom pinch ran for Hendrik Clementina to start the inning. Jose Garcia was hit by a pitch to put runners at first and second. Leandro Santana bunted foul for strike three for the first out, but Downs followed with a looping fly ball to shallow right field that fell between the first baseman going out and the right fielder coming in. Lofstrom scored to end the game and give the Dragons their second walk-off win of the year. Downs has delivered the game-winning hit in both games.

Cedar Rapids scored one run in the second inning to take an early lead, but the Dragons tied the game in the third on a home run to left field by Santana, his first of the year.

The Dragons took the lead in the fourth inning as they put together a two-out rally. Stuart Fairchild walked with two outs, stole second, and scored on John Sansone’s single to left field to give the Dragons a 2-1 lead. Narciso Crook followed with a home run to left to make it 4-1. The homer was Crook’s third of the year. Cedar Rapids battled back, scoring single runs in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings to tie the game at 4-4.

Dragons starting pitcher Adrian Rodriguez provided six strong innings in just his second appearance of the year. He allowed two runs on four hits with one walk and five strikeouts. Dauri Moreta allowed one run in one inning of work. Nutof tossed two innings, allowing an unearned run, and Ghyzel pitched the final inning to earn the win and improve to 2-1.

The Dragons finished with eight hits. Downs was 3 for 5. Santana had a home run and a double in his best offensive game of the season.

Notes: The Dragons climbed to six games above the .500 mark for the second time this season with the win. They were 9-3 on April 20 before losing the next eight. They have won nine of 10 since the losing streak.

In the Standings: The Dragons record improved to 18-12. They are in third place, one game behind first place Bowling Green and one-half game behind second place Lansing in the Midwest League East Division.

Up Next: The Dragons open a three-game series against the Peoria Chiefs at Fifth Third Field on Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. Packy Naughton (3-1, 3.93) will start for the Dragons against Peoria’s Zach Prendergast (3-1, 2.65).

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