Five-run 8th dooms Dragons in South Bend

SOUTH BEND, Ind.—The South Bend Cubs scored five runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to overcome a 6-4 deficit and go on to defeat the Dayton Dragons 9-8 on Sunday afternoon.  The Cubs won three-of-four in the series.

The Dayton loss dropped their record to 10-7 as they fell back into a tie with South Bend for first place in Midwest League East Division.

The Dragons took the lead in the second inning when John Sansone drilled a double to left-center field to drive in Avain Rachal from first base to make it 1-0.  South Bend tied the game in the second, but the Dragons pushed across two unearned runs in the third.  Jose Siri and Taylor Trammell each had sacrifice flies in the inning to make it 3-1.

South Bend scored an unearned run in the third, but the Dragons answered with one run in the fifth to extend their lead to 4-2.  The first two batters of the inning, T.J. Friedl and Jose Siri, were hit by pitches.  Friedl stole third and scored on Tyler Stevenson’s ground out.

South Bend scored two runs against the Dragons bullpen in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game at 4-4.  But Sansone lined a two-run single in the top of the eighth as Dayton regained the lead, 6-4.

South Bend sent 11 batters to the plate in the bottom of the eighth, facing three different Dragons relievers to score five runs on five hits and three walks to take a 9-6 lead.  The Dragons rallied for two runs in the top of the ninth, getting back-to-back doubles with one out from Friedl and Siri to bring in one run, and Siri scored on a two-out error to make it 9-8.  With the tying run at first and two outs, pinch hitter Michael Beltre grounded out to first to end the game.

Dragons starting pitcher Scott Moss worked six strong innings but was not involved in the decision.  He allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits with no walks and 11 strikeouts.  Reliever Ryan Hendrix (1-1) was charged with the loss.  He allowed the last three runs in the eighth inning.

It was a tough day for the Dragons bullpen.  Four relievers combined to work two innings and allow seven runs on seven hits and three walks.

The Dragons collected seven hits on the day.  Sansone was 2 for 4 with three runs batted in. Stephenson had two hits including a double with an RBI.

The Dragons travel to Bowling Green, Kentucky to open a three-game series with the Bowling Green Hot Rods starting Monday night at 7:35 p.m. (EDT).  Wennington Romero (1-0, 2.76) will start for the Dragons on Monday against Bowling Green’s Kenny Rosenberg (0-2, 8.38).  The Dragons next home game is Thursday, April 27 when they host the Great Lakes Loons at Fifth Third Field.

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