DAYTON, Ohio—The Bowling Green Hot Rods turned back a Dayton Dragons comeback bid and held on to defeat the Dragons 3-2 on Thursday night at Fifth Third Field. The game was the Dragons 20th Opening Night contest. A crowd of 7,622 was in attendance.
Bowling Green took a 3-0 lead to the bottom of the eighth inning before the Dragons nearly evened the score. Dayton’s Juan Martinez reached on an infield single to start the inning and Reniel Ozuna walked. With one out, Mariel Bautista singled to center field to drive in Martinez and make it 3-1 as Ozuna stopped at second. Michael Siani grounded out to first base for the second out as the runners advanced to second and third. Pabel Manzanero followed with a single up the middle. Ozuna scored easily to make it 3-2, but Bautista was tagged out at the plate as he tried to score from second base on the hit to end the inning. The Dragons were retired in order in the bottom of the ninth.
Dragons starting pitcher Jared Solomon (0-1) allowed one run in the first inning before pitching out of a bases loaded jam in the same frame. Solomon kept the Hot Rods from scoring again until allowing a run-scoring double to Wander Franco in the fifth and leaving the game when he reached his pitch limit with Franco at second and no one out. Solomon was charged with three runs on the night after Franco eventually scored in the fifth. He worked four-plus innings, allowing six hits and four walks with two strikeouts.
Ryan Campbell followed Solomon to the mound and tossed three scoreless innings, allowing three hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Julio Pinto worked out of a jam in the eighth to post a scoreless inning, and Connor Bennett allowed no runs in the ninth despite allowing a lead-off double.
Offensively, the Dragons finished with seven hits. Bautista and Miguel Hernandez each had two. Hernandez’s two-out double in the second inning was the only extra base hit of the night for the Dragons.
Up Next: The Dragons host the Hot Rods again on Friday at 7:05 p.m. before the series moves to Bowling Green Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. Jacob Heatherly, the Reds third round draft pick in 2017, will start for the Dragons on Friday against Bowling Green’s Joe Ryan. The game will be televised on Dayton’s CW (Channel 26; Spectrum Cable channels 13 and 1013).