BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) --- Chris Betts homered twice, Grant Witherspoon added a homer of his own and the Bowling Green Hot Rods erased a five-run deficit in a 10-5 victory over the Dayton Dragons to secure a four-game sweep and sixth-consecutive win. The Hot Rods improved to 31-20 ahead of Tuesday’s series opener against the Great Lakes Loons, which has a 6:35 p.m. first pitch.
Dayton struck first against Bowling Green starter Matthew Liberatore as Michael Siani doubled on the first pitch of the game. After stealing third with one out, Siani came home on a groundout to score the first run of the game. Dayton wasn’t done, though, as Pabel Manzanero singled, Jay Schuyler walked, then both men scored on a two-run triple by Juan Martinez to give Dayton a 3-0 lead.
The Dragons added on to that lead in the second against Liberatore. After a bunt single by Carlos Rivero and hit-by-pitch to Siani, Reniel Ozuna singled in a run with one out, followed by an RBI groundout from Brian Rey, giving Dayton a 5-0 lead.
Bowling Green went to work on the comeback against Dayton starter Lyon Richardson. With one out in the second, Witherspoon launched a solo homer to left, his fifth of the season, to put the Hot Rods on the board. An inning later, the Hot Rods drew closer as Seaver Whalen doubled with two outs, then scored when Betts launched his first homer of the day, a two-run shot to right-center that drew the Bowling Green within 5-3.
An inning later, the Hot Rods evened the score with a two-out rally against Richardson. Tony Pena singled, then scored on Kevin Santiago’s double. Ford Proctor followed with a single to center, plating Santiago to knot the score at five apiece.
After Liberatore finished his outing by retiring the last 11 batters he faced, Bowling Green gave him the lead in the fifth. Against reliever Andrew McDonald, Betts connected for his second homer of the game and 10th of the year, a leadoff blast to right that left Bowling Green Ballpark, giving the Hot Rods the lead. With two outs, Roberto Alvarez doubled, then scored on an RBI single by Beau Brundage. Pena doubled to left-center, making it 8-5, Hot Rods.
In the seventh, Santiago put the finishing touches on the win in his Hot Rods debut. With two on and two out in the eighth, Santiago lined a ball off the wall in left-center that ricocheted away from two outfielders. Santiago was waved home attempting to stretch the hit into an inside-the-park home run, but was thrown out to end the inning. The two-run triple made it a 10-5 game, which was the final score as Joel Peguero came out of the bullpen to nail down the four-game sweep over Dayton, as well as Bowling Green’s sixth-straight win.
Liberatore (2-0) earned his second win, going 5.0 innings, allowing five runs on five hits with one walk and four strikeouts. Nick Sprengel went 2.0 scoreless innings, allowing a hit and a walk with two strikeouts to earn his third hold. Peguero worked the final 2.0 innings, allowing two hits and hitting a batter, but striking out two without allowing a run.