Bowling Green, Ky. (WBKO) --- Shane Baz tied a career-high with nine strikeouts while Kaleo Johnson added four-hits as the Bowling Green Hot Rods defeated the Dayton Dragons 3-1 on Sunday night at Bowling Green Ballpark. The Hot Rods won their fifth-straight game and are 30-20 on the season with a chance to sweep the Dragons at 12:05 PM on Monday afternoon in the series finale.
The Hot Rods struck first, plating a pair of runs in the fourth inning against Dayton starter James Marinan. Johnson stroked his second hit of the game, a single, to center field and went to second when Seaver Whalen singled. Beau Brundage worked a walk and Roberto Alvarez singled to left, scoring Johnson to make it a 1-0 game while keeping the bases loaded. Osmy Gregorio hit a sacrifice fly to deep left field, plating Whalen and giving the Hot Rods a 2-0 edge.
Hot Rods starter Baz closed out his fourth outing of the season in the fifth with a bang. After allowing a leadoff single to Morgan Lofstrom, Baz struck out the next three hitters he faced to end the inning and tie a career-high with nine punch-outs.
The Hot Rods added an insurance run in the fifth against Dragons reliever Eduardo Salazar in his first inning of work. Wander Franco doubled to left-center with one out and went to third on a balk. Ford Proctor lifted a fly ball to center field that allowed Franco to tag and score, extending the Bowling Green lead to 3-0.
Miller Hogan retired the first 11 Dragons he faced in relief for Bowling Green but ran into a spot of trouble with two outs in the ninth. Brian Rey hit a 2-0 pitch into the Hot Rods bullpen down the left-field line for his third homer of the season to cut the Bowling Green lead to 3-1. Hogan got Jay Schuyler to fly out to left, ending the game and extending the Hot Rods win-streak to five games.
Baz (1-0) went 5.0 scoreless innings in the win, holding Dayton to two hits with a walk and nine strikeouts. Hogan added four innings in a save, allowing the solo homer in the ninth with four strikeouts.
Notes: Baz tied a career-high with nine strikeouts… He also tied a season high with five innings pitched, a mark he’s reached in each of his first four starts this season… The two hits he allowed is the lowest total of the season for the righty… Pena extended his hitting streak to 10 games… Brundage extended his hitting streak to seven games… Whalen has two hits in each of his first two games with Bowling Green… Franco had his 14th multi-hit game of the season… Franco has a multi-hit game in four straight games and 10 of his last 13 contests… Johnson tied a team-high with four hits in a game… The total is also a career-high for Johnson… It’s the 11th multi-hit effort for Johnson… Bowling Green starting pitchers have won seven-straight decisions and have made 16-consecutive starts (since May 12) without taking a loss… Bowling Green is 20-8 in games they score first… The Hot Rods are 15-2 when collecting double-digit hits… BG is 24-6 when out-hitting their opponents…Bowling Green is 16-8 at home…BG is 25-12 against right-handed starters… The Hot Rods will play the series finale of the four-game set against Dayton on Monday afternoon with a 12:05 PM first pitch…LH Matthew Liberatore (1-0, 0.90) will take the mound for the Hot Rods while the Dragons will counter with RH Lyon Richardson (0-4, 4.58)… Monday is Dime Dog Day… It’s also Military Appreciation day at Bowling Green Ballpark… In the Body Shop, it’s Merchandise Monday where there’s a specialty discount on select items… Fans can catch all the action with Shawn Murnin on Willie 107.9 FM, as well as, with their smart phones via the MiLB First Pitch app and TuneIn Radio app.