BOWLING GREEN, Ky – The final score indicated it was a tough day for the Dayton Dragons, but the game’s ending had to go down as one of the most confusing and bizarre in franchise history. The Dragons fell to the Bowling Green Hot Rods 14-1 on Monday, though the official score at the end only added to the confusion.
Bowling Green built a 5-0 lead over the Dragons over the first four innings on Monday and took a 9-1 lead to the bottom of the eighth inning. After a lead-off infield single in the eighth, a brief shower passed through Bowling Green Ballpark and delayed the game for 22 minutes. When the game resumed, the Hot Rods scored two runs and loaded the bases when a second storm cell passed through, bringing strong wind and heavy rain. With intense rain pelting the field and the wind howling out to left-center field, Bowling Green infielder Zach Rutherford, who had already collected four hits including a home run, drove a ball high into the air in exactly that direction, and it carried over the fence for a grand slam homer. As the Hot Rod runners splashed around the base paths with the rain gaining intensity, Rutherford touched home plate as umpires waved the players off the field with Bowling Green leading 15-1. Then the confusion began.
Just moments later, with puddles covering much of the infield and home plate barely visible, the nine Dragons defensive players went back on the field, reliever Tyler Buffett took the mound, shortstop Jose Garcia tip-toed through standing water to his position, and the next Bowling Green batter stepped into the batter’s box. It appeared that the game was about to resume in field conditions that would seem to require hours of drying time and lengthy work by the ground’s crew.
But the Dragons only intended to appeal that Bowling Green’s Vidal Brujan, who had been at second base when the grand slam had been hit, had never reached home plate in the thunderstorm. The plate umpire agreed, Brujan was called out, and the players and umpires quickly left the field and immediately headed for the locker room. Brujan’s run did not count, and after a mandatory waiting period, the game was called.
Since two runners touched home plate after Brujan, there were questions as to the correct final score. Umpires told the Official Scorer that all runs should count except Brujan’s run, leaving the final score at 14-1.
Bowling Green won three-of-four games in the series, taking the last three after the Dragons had won the series opener on Friday night.
Dragons starting pitcher Tyler Mondile (1-4) was charged with the loss. He worked four innings, allowing 10 hits and five runs with two walks and three strikeouts.
The Dragons finished with four hits. Stuart Fairchild had a double to extend his hitting streak to 11 straight games, matching the longest hitting streak of the year for a Dayton player. The Dragons run came in the top of the fifth when Jose Garcia scored from third on Miles Gordon’s sacrifice fly. Garcia reached third on a long drive to left field that the Dragons felt had left the ballpark and should have been ruled a home run, but instead resulted in a triple. Dragons manager Luis Bolivar, who was coaching third base at the time, was ejected from a game for the first time this season after he argued the call with the home plate umpire.
Rutherford had a career-game for Bowling Green, going 5 for 5 with two home runs and six runs batted in.
In the Standings: The Dragons are 25-24, in fourth place, six and one-half games behind first place Bowling Green and six games behind Lansing, the wildcard leader, in the Midwest League East Division.
Hunter Greene (0-3, 8.44) will start for Dayton against West Michigan’s Elvin Rodriguez (3-2, 4.81).