APPLETON, Wisc.—Brantley Bell’s two-run single broke a 4-4 tie in the top of the 10th inning as the Dayton Dragons came from behind to defeat the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers 6-4 on Saturday afternoon. The Dragons have won the first two games of the series in Wisconsin and will try for the sweep on Sunday afternoon. The Dragons are 4-1 on their current road trip and have won eight of their last nine games.
The Dragons trailed 2-1 when John Sansone tied the game with his second home run of the season in the top of the sixth inning. The Dragons jumped ahead in the eighth when T.J. Friedl led off the inning with a triple and scored on Taylor Trammell’s double to make it 3-2. But Wisconsin scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth to take a 4-3 lead to the ninth.
Bell opened the Dragons ninth inning with a single to center field and went to second on a wild pitch. He advanced to third on Luis Gonzalez’s sacrifice and scored on Hector Vargas’ single to tie the game at 4-4.
In the top of the 10th, Trammell singled to left field to start the winning rally. With one out, Tyler Stephenson singled to move Trammell to third. After Avain Rachal was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Bell grounded one into center field to drive in both Trammell and Stephenson to give the Dragons a 6-4 lead.
Jesse Stallings (1-0), who had entered the game to pitch a scoreless bottom of the ninth, worked a perfect 10th inning to earn the win.
The Dragons improved to 19-10 on the season and remain in first place in the Midwest League East Division. They are nine games above the .500 mark for the first time since they were 24-15 on May 16, 2014. They have not been 10 games above .500 since the end of the 2011 season.
The Dragons 12-hit attack gave them 52 hits in the five games on the road trip. Bell was 3 for 5 with a triple and the two big RBI as he reached the .300 mark for the year at .301. Trammell and Stephenson each had two hits including a double. Sansone’s home run gave him 16 RBI in his last 13 games. Friedl had one hit, the triple in the eighth, and he scored two runs. He also stole his seventh base of the season.
The Dragons sent four pitchers to the mound on Saturday. Starting Alex Webb tossed the first five innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits with one walk and three strikeouts. Left-hander Jesse Adams followed Webb, pitching the sixth and seventh innings before recorded the first two outs in the eighth. He was charged with one run on three hits with three strikeouts. Joel Kuhnel entered the game with a runner at third and the Dragons leading 3-2 and two outs in the bottom of the eighth. He surrendered a walk and eventually a two-run single as Wisconsin took the lead. Kuhnel was charged with one of the runs in a rare less-than-strong outing for the normally-dependable closer. Stallings earned the win, going two innings and allowing one hit with one strikeout.
The Dragons (19-10) battle the Timber Rattlers (12-14) in the last game of the series on Sunday afternoon at 2:05 p.m. (EDT). Andrew Jordan (2-3, 5.04) will start for the Dragons against Wisconsin’s Thomas Jankins (1-1, 4.00). The Dragons then return home to begin a six-game home stand on Monday at 7:00 against the Cedar Rapids Kernels at Fifth Third Field.
Notes: Bell is now batting .381 over his last 18 games while Stephenson is hitting .356 over his last 16…Trammell and Gonzalez both extended hitting streaks to five straight games…The Dragons improved to 3-0 in extra inning wins with the victory…The game marked the first time this season that the Dragons pulled out a win in a game in which they trailed entering the ninth inning.