BOWLING GREEN, Ky – The Dayton Dragons roared back from a 5-1 deficit to defeat the Bowling Green Hot Rods 8-5 on Friday night, taking two-of-three in the series. The win kept the Dragons three games behind the wildcard leader, West Michigan, with nine games to play in the first half.
Bowling Green jumped out to a 4-0 lead over the first two innings and led 5-1 through six with the Dragons showing little spark offensively. The Dragons had only three hits and four base runners over the first six innings.
In the seventh, Daniel Pigott drilled a double to the right-center field fence to start the rally. Avain Rachal reached on a bad hop single with one out, and Jon Matthews singled to center field to bring in Pigott and make it 5-2. Carlton Daal’s two-out single to center brought in Rachal to make it 5-3.
The Dragons erupted for a five-run eighth inning to take the lead. Phillip Ervin started the inning with a base hit to left field, and Pigott brought him in with a double to the fence in left to make it 5-4. Tanner Rahier reached on an error as Pigott advanced to third, and Rachal’s single to right brought in Pigott to tie the game. Jon Matthews’ base hit to center field loaded the bases with one out, and Rahier scored on a wild pitch to give the Dragons a 6-5 lead. Daal’s two-out infield single brought in Rachal, and Matthews scored on a bloop double by Sammy Diaz to close out the scoring.
The Dragons finished with 14 hits in the game. Pigott was 3 for 4 with two doubles, two RBI, two runs scored, and a walk. Rachal had three hits, an RBI, and two runs scored. Ervin, Matthews, and Daal each had two hits.
The Dragons overcame a four-run deficit to win for the first time this season. They had 10 hits over the seventh and eighth innings after collecting three over the first six innings.
Reliever Joel Bender (2-0) pitched a perfect seventh inning for the win. Alejandro Chacin worked the final two innings for the save, striking out two without giving up a hit or a walk.
Dragons starting pitcher Nick Travieso worked the first six innings, allowing six hits and five runs (only two were earned) with two walks and five strikeouts.
The Dragons are now 31-28 in the first half. West Michigan, the wildcard leader, improved to 35-26 as they completed a sweep of a three-game series with Great Lakes. West Michigan will open a three-game series with first place South Bend on Saturday night.
The Dragons travel to the Cleveland suburb of Eastlake, Ohio to open a three-game series with the Lake County Captains on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. Nick Routt (0-0, 4.76) will start for Dayton against Lake County’s Robbie Aviles (1-1, 1.45).
Notes: Dragons shortstop Carlton Daal tied a club record with four errors in the game. Two players had committed four in a game previously, most recently in 2005.