DAYTON, Ohio – The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers scored three runs in the eighth inning to erase a 3-2 deficit and defeat the Dayton Dragons 5-3 on Saturday night. A crowd of 8,696 was in attendance at Fifth Third Field.
The Dragons trailed early 2-0 but battled back when James Vasquez blasted a solo home run in the fourth to make it 2-1. It was Vasquez’s 10th homer of the year and his first since June 10. Then in the fifth, Reydel Medina singled with one out and scored from first on a triple off the right field fence by Luis Gonzalez to tie the game. Gonzalez scored from third on Zack Shields’ ground out to give the Dragons a 3-2 lead.
New Dragons reliever Ryan Hendrix fired two scoreless innings to allow the Dragons to hold the lead into the eighth inning. Jesus Reyes replaced Hendrix, hoping to continue a period of excellent for Reyes, who had allowed just one run in his last 18.1 innings. But Reyes suffered through a rough eighth inning, allowing back-to-back walks with one out and then a game-tying double to Max McDowell. On the same play, a second scored when left fielder Shane Mardirosian’s throw in to second skidded past Shed Long to give Wisconsin a 4-3 lead. Alan Sharkey then singled to center to bring in McDowell and make it 5-3.
The Dragons had hits in each of their final two innings but could not score as fell for the second straight night.
Dragons starting pitcher Austin Orewiler left the game with a 3-2 lead. He worked five innings, allowing two runs on six hits with one walk and four strikeouts. Reyes (4-2) was charged with the loss and a blown save, the 15th of the year for the Dragons bullpen. Reyes allowed three runs in his only inning of work on two hits and two walks.
The Dragons collected 10 hits. Vasquez, Medina, and Tyler Stephenson each had two.
The Dragons (8-14, 29-63) host the Timber Rattlers (11-12, 45-48) at Fifth Third Field on Sunday at 2:07 p.m. in the second game of the series. Jose Lopez (6-7, 3.05) will start for the Dragons against Wisconsin’s Devin Williams (5-2, 3.67).
Sunday’s game will be televised on Dayton’s CW (Channel 26; Time Warner Cable channels 13 and 1013.