Dayton, Ohio-Hector Vargas delivered a tie-breaking single with the bases loaded and no outs in the bottom of the 11th inning to lift the Dayton Dragons to a 4-3 victory over the Lansing Lugnuts on Wednesday night. A crowd of 7,505 saw the Dragons post their first "walk-off" win of the 2017 season as they won two-of-three in the series with Lansing and built their lead in the East Division.
The Dragons game-winning rally began the score tied 3-3 in the bottom of the 11th when Cassidy Brown singled to right to start the inning. Jose Siri bunted to the right of the mound and when Lansing pitcher Jackson McClelland threw wildly to first base, Brown went to third and Siri took second. Brantley Bell drew an intentional walk to load the bases with no outs. With the Lansing infield pulled all the way in, Vargas fell behind in the count 0-2 but made contact with the next pitch, sending a soft pop up toward the grass in shallow right field. The ball fell between the Lugnuts shortstop and left fielder, allowing Brown to score to end the game.
With the win, the Dragons improved to 9-4 and increased their lead in the Midwest League's East Division to one and one-half games. The Dragons bounced back to win the three-game series after losing the opener on Monday.
Lansing scored an unearned run in the top of the first inning before the Dragons tied the game in the bottom half of the same inning. Dayton's Michael Beltre opened the bottom of the first with a double down the right field line, went to third on Taylor Trammell's fly out, and scored on Tyler Stephenson's two-out single to right to tie the game.
In the sixth, the Dragons took the lead. John Sansone ripped a double over the head of the center fielder to start the frame. Sansone went to third on Taylor Trammell's ground out, and scored on a wild pitch to give the Dragons a 2-1 lead. But Lansing quickly tied the game again as they scored one run in the top of the seventh on a two-out RBI single by Jake Thomas to make it 2-2.
The Dragons immediately regained the lead in the bottom of the seventh. Brantley Bell singled to start the inning and went to second on Hector Vargas' sacrifice. Beltre was hit by a pitch, and Sansone followed with a single through the middle to bring in Bell and give the Dragons a 3-2 lead. But Lansing's Bradley Jones blasted a two-out home run in the top of the eighth to tie the game again, ending the scoring until the Dragons rally in the 11th.
The Dragons collected 12 hits. Sansone, Bell, and James Vasquez each had two. Taylor Trammell had one hit to extend his hitting streak to nine straight games.
Dragons starting pitcher Wennington Romero was outstanding but was not involved in the decision. He worked six innings, allowing one unearned run on five hits with no walks and six strikeouts. Patrick Riehl replaced Romero to start the seventh and allowed the tying run to score before giving way to Andy Cox with two outs and a runner at first. Cox got a strikeout to end the inning. Joel Kuhnel worked two innings, allowing the tying run in the eighth on Jones' home run. He gave up two hits with one walk and one strikeout. Jesse Adams (2-0) earned the win, tossing two scoreless innings while allowing one hit and one walk with three strikeouts.
The Dragons open a seven-game road trip on Thursday night in South Bend, Indiana against the South Bend Cubs. They will meet the Cubs in a four-game series through Sunday before playing three games in Bowling Green, Kentucky against the Hot Rods. On Thursday, the Dragons Ryan Olson (2-0, 0.00) will pitch against South Bend's Manuel Rondon (1-0, 3.72) at 7:05 p.m. Olson is coming off a nine-inning shutout in his last start last Friday at Great Lakes and his not allowed a run this season in 16 innings. South Bend is 7-6 on the season.
All Dragons games are broadcast on radio on Fox Sports 980 WONE and on the internet at wone.com. Games are also available on the Dayton Dragons mobile app.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.