BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) --- Chris Betts launched his 13th homer of the season to lead a 15-hit attack, but the Bowling Green Hot Rods couldn’t overcome an offensive onslaught from the Dayton Dragons in a 13-7 loss in a see-saw series finale. The Hot Rods fell to 50-35 and will begin a three-game series at Bowling Green Ballpark against the West Michigan Whitecaps, with first pitch scheduled for 6:35 p.m. on Saturday night.
In the top of the first, Dayton struck right away against Hot Rods starter Shane Baz. After Baz retired the first two batters, he hit Mariel Bautista, then served up a two-run homer to Pabel Manzanero. The Dragons weren’t done, though, as Brian Rey doubled off the third base bag, then scored on an RBI single by Juan Martinez, giving Dayton a 3-0 lead.
In the bottom of the inning, though, Bowling Green fought back against Dragons starter Jhon De Jesus. Ford Proctor singled to begin the inning, moved to third on a double by Osmy Gregorio, and scored on an errant cutoff throw. After Gregorio moved to third on a lineout to right, Chris Betts rolled a ground ball to first that brought home Gregorio, closing the deficit to 3-2.
In the third, Dayton got a run back as Rey brought in Bautista with a sacrifice fly. In the bottom of the frame, though, the Hot Rod tied the game against De Jesus, as Betts came through with a two-out RBI single. Roberto Alvarez followed with a double to right, which moved Betts to third. Betts then scored the tying run when the throw to second got away.
In the fourth, Dayton regained the lead. After a double and walk with one out, Miles Gordon lined a two-run double to right, giving Dayton a two-run lead and chasing Baz from the game. Michael Costanzo entered the game and allowed an RBI single to Bautista, giving Dayton a 7-4 lead.
Bowling Green again chipped away, as Chris Betts deposited a full-count delivery from De Jesus over the right-field wall in the fifth inning, closing the deficit to 7-5. An inning later, the Hot Rods mounted a two-out rally against reliever Carlos Machorro. Proctor and Gregorio drew walks, which was followed by an RBI single from Jonathan Aranda that brought home Proctor. Gregorio attempted to score when the throw home got away, but was thrown out to end the inning, with Dayton in front 7-6.
In the seventh, Dayton got a run right back against Nick Sprengel. After Bautista began the inning with an infield single, he advanced to third on a double by Manzanero and scored on a sac fly from Rey, extending the lead back to 8-6. In the bottom of the inning, the Hot Rods again responded. Alvarez tripled off Jerry D’Andrea with one out, which was followed by a walk to Witherspoon. Witherspoon stole second, but the throw to second was wild, allowing Alvarez to score from third to again cut the deficit to one run.
Not to be outdone, the Dragons again scored in the eighth. With runners on first and second and one out, Sprengel unleashed an errant pickoff throw to first, scoring Miguel Hernandez to make it 9-7, Dayton. In the bottom of the eighth, the Hot Rods loaded the bases with two outs, but Alvarez flew out to end the inning. Dayton added four runs in the ninth to finish off the contest, sending the Hot Rods to a 13-7 defeat and a series split.
Baz (3-1) went 3.1 innings, allowing seven runs on seven hits, while walking two and striking out two in taking his first loss. Costanzo went 2.2 scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking out three. Sprengel threw the final 3.0 innings, allowing six runs (five earned) on nine hits, while walking one and striking out two.