Dragons knock off Hot Rods for first win of the season

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Dayton’s Jay Schuyler hit a three-run home run to lead a 10-hit attack as the Dragons defeated the Bowling Green Hot Rods 7-5 on Friday night before a crowd of 7,998 at Fifth Third Field.  The win gave the Dragons a split of their two-game set in Dayton with Bowling Green to start the 2019 season.

Bowling Green jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning before the Dragons rallied in the bottom half of the inning.  After Mariel Bautista walked and Michael Siani singled to center, Schuyler, a former star at the University of San Diego, blasted a home run to left field in his first swing with the Dragons. The home run gave the Dragons a 3-2 lead.

Bowling Green scored single runs in the third and fourth innings to jump back in front 4-3, but the Dragons answered with two runs in the fourth to take the lead for good.  Schuyler started the inning with a bunt single and scored from first on a one-out double by Miguel Hernandez to tie the game.  Juan Martinez followed with a single to center to bring in Hernandez and give Dayton a 5-4 lead.  The Dragons scored again in the seventh when Bautista tripled and scored on Siani’s single to make it 6-4. 

Bowling Green threatened to score in the seventh but saw their rally end with an unusual play.  With runners at first and second with one out, Grant Witherspoon lifted a high pop up behind shortstop.  Three defenders converged on the ball and Siani, the center fielder, made an effort to catch it but had it glance off his glove.  He quickly picked up the ball and fired it into second base.  The base umpire called the batter out on an infield fly rule, and the runner at first base was tagged out before he could return to the bag for a double play. 

Bowling Green scored one run in the top of the eighth but the Dragons responded with one in the bottom of the inning on Shard Munroe’s sacrifice fly to again lead by two runs.  Andy Cox pitched a perfect ninth inning for Dayton to earn the save.  The victory was credited to reliever Alexis Diaz, who worked two innings and allowed one run on one hit with two walks and three strikeouts.

Dayton starter Jacob Heatherly tossed three innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits with two walks and four strikeouts.  Dayton reliever Adrian Rodriguez entered the game in the sixth to work three innings, allowing one run on three hits with one walk and two strikeouts.  Dayton pitchers struck out 11 batters on the night.

Schuyler, Siani, and Hernandez each had two hits for Dayton.  The Dragons were 3 for 7 with men in scoring position.

Up Next:  The Dragons travel to Bowling Green, Kentucky to take on the Hot Rods in back-to-back games Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.  On Saturday at 7:35 p.m. (EDT), Jhon De Jesus, a 22-year-old native of the Dominican Republic, will make his Midwest League debut for the Dragons.  Michael Plassmeyer, a left-hander, will start for Bowling Green.  The series will conclude on Sunday at 3:05 before the Dragons open a four-game set on Monday at Fort Wayne.

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