BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – The Dayton Dragons scored three runs in the top of the 12th inning and held on to defeat the Bowling Green Hot Rods 4-1 on Wednesday night in the longest Dragons game in more than two years. Five Dayton pitchers combined to allow just four hits and no earned runs as Bowling Green went 0 for 17 with runners in scoring position.
The game lasted four hours, 11 minutes, making it the longest Dragons game in terms of both innings and clock time since Minor League Baseball adopted the current format of a “free runner” at second base to start each inning once the game goes beyond nine innings. The format was utilized beginning with the 2018 season. The last Dragons game to go longer was July 20, 2017, when the Dragons played a 13-inning game against Peoria that lasted four hours, 27 minutes.
After the Dragons broke a 1-1 tie with three runs in the top of the 12th, reliever Matt Pidich tossed a scoreless bottom of the inning to close out the Dragons win.
The Dragons started the top of the 12th with free runner Juan Martinez at second base. Matt Lloyd led off the inning with a base hit to left, moving Martinez to third. Dragons pitcher Eddy Demurias, who had entered the game as a pinch runner in the 10th, came to bat with runners at first and third and no outs with no position players left on the bench to pinch hit. In the first at-bat for a Dayton pitcher since Nick Travieso went to the plate in 2014, Demurias hit a slow roller to third, and Martinez was thrown out at the plate trying to score. The result of the play left Lloyd at second and Demurias at first with one out. Randy Ventura then hit a chopper to the right side of the infield that was fielded by Bowling Green first baseman Seaver Whalen, who initially looked to second base, then turned and threw to first. Whalen’s throw struck Ventura and bounced away, allowing both Lloyd and Demurias to score as Ventura went to third. Miles Gordon’s infield ground out brought in Ventura to make it 4-1.
Pidich retired all three batters he faced in the bottom of the 12th. He was credited with the win to improve to 3-3.
The game was scoreless until the Dragons posted a run in the top of the 11th on a two-out single by Morgan Lofstrom to drive in Miguel Hernandez and give Dayton a 1-0 lead. But Bowling Green tied the game in the bottom of the 11th on Ventura’s two-base throwing error at second base that brought in a runner from second with one out. Pidich had to pitch out of a runner at second, out-out jam to get the game to the 12th inning.
Neither team scored in the 10th inning as Dragons reliever Clate Schmidt worked out of a tough situation to keep his team alive. After the Dragons failed to score in the top of the 10th, Bowling Green started the bottom half of the inning with their free runner at second and no outs, but Schmidt worked out of trouble before giving way to Pidich to start the 11th.
Dragons starting pitcher Adrian Rodriguez worked four and one-third scoreless innings, allowing three hits and three walks with three strikeouts. Reliever Jerry D’Andrea was outstanding after replacing Rodriguez with two men on base and one out in the fifth. He retired all five batters he faced, including four on strikeouts. Andrew McDonald worked two scoreless innings, pitching out of a bases loaded, two-out jam in the eighth. Schmidt also tossed two scoreless innings, allowing no hits or walks.
The Dragons finished the night with seven hits including two each by Lloyd and Mariel Bautista. Lofstrom’s RBI single extended his hitting streak to seven straight games.
Up Next: The Dragons (22-29, 50-71) play at Bowling Green again on Thursday at 7:35 p.m. (EDT) against the Hot Rods (30-21, 69-52). Lyon Richardson (2-8, 4.95) will start for the Dragons against Bowling Green’s Miller Hogan (4-3, 3.10).
The next Dragons home game is Wednesday, August 21 against the Fort Wayne TinCaps at 7:00 p.m. at Fifth Third Field.