Peoria, IL - The Peoria Chiefs plated two runs in the bottom of the seventh and held on for a 2-1 victory over the Bowling Green Hot Rods in game two of the Midwest League Championship Series Thursday night. Friday is a travel day with game three of the MWLCS set for 6:35 p.m. Saturday at Bowling Green Ballpark.
In a pitcher's duel, Bowling Green put a runner on third in the top of the seventh but could not bring him around. Chiefs starter Zach Prendergast cruised through six innings but allowed a leadoff single to Taylor Walls and with two down, Patrick Dayton entered out of the bullpen. On a pickoff attempt to first, Dayton threw the ball away moving Walls to third. Dayton struck out Trey Hair to keep the game scoreless.
The Chiefs finally broke through in the bottom of the seventh against Bowling Green starter Tommy Romero. Nick Dunn punched a leadoff single to right and Nolan Gorman singled to right-center. Dunn scampered to third and Gorman took second on the throw. With two runners in scoring position, Rayder Ascanio lined a single to right to put the Chiefs on the board while setting up runners at the corners. Tyler Zombro came in out of the bullpen and got Nick Plummer to ground into a double play but the Chiefs went ahead 2-0 as Gorman scored.
The Hot Rods answered in the top of the eighth as Dayton started out on the hill. Zach Rutherford led off with a single and pinch hitter Justin Bridgman sent a single to center. Kodi Whitley replaced Dayton on the mound and Carl Chester reached on a bunt single to load the bases. Vidal Brujan drove in Rutherford on a sacrifice fly to center as the deficit was cut in half 2-1. Whitley intentionally walked Walls with two outs and Jim Haley grounded out as the Hot Rods left the bases loaded.
Bowling Green put the go-ahead run on base in the top of the ninth. Rutherford drew a two-out walk and Bridgman singled to put runners at the corners. Bridgman advanced to second on a defensive indifference but Chester grounded out to third as the Chiefs sealed the 2-1 win.
Prendergast got a no-decision throwing 6 2/3 shutout innings allowing two hits with one walk and seven strikeouts. Dayton (1-0) picked up the win allowing one run over 1/3 of an inning on two hits with one strikeout. Whitley earned the save tossing two scoreless innings allowing one hit with one walk and one strikeout.
Notes: The Chiefs have seven multi-run innings in the playoffs…Dunn has hits in all six playoff games…Dunn and Gonzalez both have nine hits in the playoffs…Gonzalez has four multi-hit games in the playoffs…Prendergast hasn't allowed an earned run during the postseason and has struck out 18 batters over 11 2/3 innings...The 18 strikeouts are the second most in a Chiefs playoff run as Tyler Johnson struck out 20 in 2002…Whitley has two saves and a win in three playoff appearances…His two saves are the second most by a Chiefs pitcher in the playoffs behind Jared Blasdell's four in 2002…The Chiefs got their first MWL Championship Series win in exactly 16 years as the 2002 team won the Championship in Lansing, Michigan on September 13…Tonight was the final game at Dozer Park in 2018 where the Chiefs 46-28 overall...Manager Chris Swauger called for his first intentional walk in the first nine innings of a game this year...The Chiefs are 15-8 at home all-time in the playoffs...Peoria is 3-1 in MWL Finals games played at Dozer Park...The Chiefs also made the MWL Championship Series in 1985, 1986 and 2002…They lost the first two and won in 2002…The series resumes at 6:35 p.m. on Saturday in Bowling Green...The Chiefs will start LH Jake Dahlberg (4-3, 2.87) against Hot Rods LH Resly Linares (7-3, 3.20)...The broadcast with Voice of the Chiefs Nathan Baliva can be heard starting with the Pre-Game Show at 6:20 p.m. on www.peoriachiefs.com/listenlive and is also available on the Peoria Chiefs Network in the Tune-In Radio App.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.