Dragons Manager Luis Bolivar was not going to slow his arm down.
With newcomer Nate Scantlin on first, Mariel Bautista ripped a one-out shot into the right-field corner and Bolivar was all in on the chugging.
“It was deep in right field and he has good speed,” Bolivar said. “It was a big opportunity for us and I thought it was worth taking the risk.”
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The throw came into second as Scantlin slid across home with the winning run in a 3-2 Dragons victory over Bowling Green Thursday night.
It was Dayton’s second straight “walk-off” win over Bowling Green. After winning on a walk-off double by Brian Rey in the bottom of the ninth inning on Wednesday, the Dragons came to bat in the bottom of the ninth on Thursday with the score tied, 2-2.
“It was a good win for us,” Bolivar said. “Walk-off wins are big and it was big for Bautista for him to build more confidence.”
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The win – the third straight for the Dragons – kept them four games back of South Bend for the final playoff spot in the second half of the season with 30 games remaining.
Starting pitchers Eduardo Salazar and Bowling Green’s Shane Baz had the game rocketing through the early innings.
Dayton managed just a two-out single in the first from Jay Schuyler while Salazar didn’t allow a hit until there were two outs in the fourth.
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Salazar was outstanding, firing six scoreless innings. He allowed just two hits and one walk and five strikeouts.
Moises Nova replaced Salazar and allowed two runs in the seventh before being replaced by Clate Schmidt with two outs in the eighth and runners at first and second. Schmidt issued a walk to load the bases before notching a strikeout on a 3-2 pitch to Midwest League active home run leader Chris Betts to end the inning.
Schmidt worked a scoreless top of the ninth and was credited with the win.
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The Dragons finished with seven hits. Bautista had his fourth straight two-hit game.
The Dragons got on the board first in the sixth when Bautista scored on a wild pitch with the bases loaded.
Bowling Green took a brief lead the next inning when they got to Dragons’ reliever Moises Nova for two runs on three hits.
Miguel Hernandez led off the home seventh with a single before tying the game at 2-2 on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Michael Siani.
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“Our guys were still locked in,” Bolivar said. “They were engaged in the game and they came through and came back and got the win.”
Bowling Green loaded the bases in the eighth and had a runner on second with one out in the ninth, but could not find the go-ahead run as the Dragons used Nova and Schmidt to close out the game.
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“The plan was to give some of our other relievers a night off and it worked out,” Bolivar said. “We needed for them to get some rest. We have a long way to go until our next day off. It’s a grind and we needed to get them some time off.”
Dayton closes out the four-game set with Bowling Green at 7 p.m. Friday with Jhon De Jesus taking a 2-10 mark to the Fifth Third Field mound.
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