SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WDTN) - The South Bend Silver Hawks battled back from a 4-2 deficit with three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to walk-off with a 5-4 victory over the Dayton Dragons on Tuesday night. South Bend scored the winning run on a two-out, bases-loaded walk to earn their second straight win in the series and hand the Dragons their third straight loss.
The Dragons began the day with a one-game lead over both Great Lakes and Bowling Green in the second half wildcard race. At this posting, both of those teams were still playing on Tuesday night. Great Lakes held a 5-0 lead over Fort Wayne in the eighth inning of their game while Bowling Green trailed Lake County 3-0 in the eighth. There are 13 games to play.
Dragons closer Alejandro Chacin, who had not allowed a run in over a month covering 12 appearances and had surrendered just one run over his last 18 games, entered the game to pitch the bottom of the ninth with a 4-2 lead. Chacin retired the lead-off batter in the ninth before issuing a walk and a wild pitch. He then recorded a strikeout for the second out and ran the count to 1-2 on South Bend’s Michael Perez. But he hit Perez with his next pitch to put the tying run on base. Marty Herum followed with a single to center to drive in one run and move Perez to third. On a 3-2 pitch, D.J. Bowman singled up the middle to tie the game at 4-4. Chacin then hit Andrew Velazquez with his first pitch to load the bases, and then walked Chuck Taylor on four pitches to force in the winning run.
The Dragons trailed 2-1 before tying the game in the seventh inning with a two-out rally. Jonathan Reynoso reached on a bunt single and scored from first on Ronald Bueno’s triple to make it 2-2. The Dragons picked up the lead in the eighth when Phillip Ervin doubled, went to third on Tanner Rahier’s ground out, and scored on Jon Matthews’ bouncer over the infield. Matthews went to third on Jose Ortiz’s single to left, and scored on Reynoso’s ground out to put the Dragons in front 4-2.
Dragons reliever Evan Mitchell was outstanding in a set-up role, retiring all six batters he faced over the seventh and eighth innings. Starting pitcher Sal Romano worked the first six innings, allowing two runs on four hits with three walks and four strikeouts.
The Dragons collected 11 hits. Matthews, Bueno, and Jamodrick McGruder each had two.
The Dragons (27-30) battle the Silver Hawks (33-24) in the last game of a three-game series on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. Nick Travieso (11-5, 3.17) will start for the Dragons against South Bend’s Blake Perry (7-5, 4.50).
The Dragons will travel to Grand Rapids, Michigan to meet the West Michigan Whitecaps in the start to a three-game series on Thursday at 7:10 p.m. The next home game is Sunday, August 24 vs. Great Lakes at Fifth Third Field. The game will have a special start time of 4:00 p.m.
All Dragons games can be heard on WONE Radio (980 AM) and via the internet at wone.com and through the Dragons Mobile App.