LANSING, Mich. – Two days after Yerdel Vargas singled home Drew Swift in the bottom of the ninth for a walk-off winner, Vargas doubled home Swift in the bottom of the ninth to lift the Lansing Black Rhinos (43-47) to a 5-4 victory over the Dayton Dragons (48-42) on Sunday
LANSING, Mich. – Two days after Yerdel Vargas singled home Drew Swift in the bottom of the ninth for a walk-off winner, Vargas doubled home Swift in the bottom of the ninth to lift the Lansing Black Rhinos (43-47) to a 5-4 victory over the Dayton Dragons (48-42) on Sunday afternoon at Jackson® Field™.
Down to its final two outs, Dayton, the top team in the High-A Central’s East Division, tied the score at 4-4 on Jack Rogers’s two-run homer off Garrett Acton in the top of the ninth.
In the bottom of the ninth, Dragons right-hander John Ghyzel struck out Jared McDonald, allowed a single to left from Swift, and then struck out Lester Madden, Jr. That brought up Vargas, who had never had a walk-off hit in his life before coming through on Friday. He came through here, too, blooping a single to left-center that glanced off the glove of diving center fielder Michael Siani and bounced away. Swift never broke stride, speeding all the way home from first base and sparking a wild celebration in center field that ended with Vargas getting his jersey ripped off and dodging an attempted Gatorade shower.
The game began with the professional debuts of Jack Owen and Kyle Virbitsky for Lansing. Left-hander Owen, signed by the Athletics as an undrafted free agent from Auburn in July, impressed with 2 2/3 hitless innings, striking out five of the first seven batters he faced. Right-hander Virbitsky allowed a run on three hits before striking out the last two batters he opposed in 1 1/3 innings.
Strikeouts were a theme for both teams: Six Lansing pitchers whiffed 15 Dragons batters, while five Dayton pitchers struck out 16 Black Rhinos hitters.
In the win, third baseman Brett Harris hit his second professional home run, a laser to left that exited at 105 miles-per-hour. The roundtripper came in his first at-bat of the game, following on the heels of his first home run in his final at-bat on Saturday night.
Catcher William Simoneit finished 1-for-4 with an RBI single, extending his on-base streak to 17 games.
Lansing enjoys a league-wide off day on Monday before traveling to Great Lakes for a six-game series beginning Tuesday. Lansing’s next homestand runs from August 24-29 against archrival West Michigan. To purchase tickets, visit lansinglugnuts.com or call (517) 485-4500.
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