Dragons rally past Kernels for fifth straight win

The Dayton Dragons scored four runs in the seventh inning as they battled back from a five-run deficit and defeated the Cedar Rapids Kernels 7-6 on Tuesday night for their fifth straight win.

Dayton’s Jay Allen had two triples to tie a club record, most recently accomplished by Miles Gordon in 2018. Mat Nelson also had a triple as the Dragons tied the franchise record for team three-base hits in a game with three.

The Dragons had a slow start at the plate but got stronger as the night continued, finishing with 11 hits including seven extra base hits.  They also stole three bases.  The Dragons have collected at least 10 hits in five straight games, a season high.

Meanwhile, the Dayton bullpen combined to work five innings, allowing just one run to make the comeback possible. The Dragons matched their largest comeback win of the season, erasing a five-run deficit for the second time.

Trailing 2-0 in the third, Dayton’s Justice Thompson delivered a two-out solo home run to get the Dragons on the board. Thompson’s home run gave the Dragons their first base runner of the game after Cedar Rapids starter Orlando Rodriguez had retired the first eight batters, including six on strikeouts.

But Cedar Rapids scored three more runs in the fourth and another in the top of the sixth to extend their lead to 6-1.

The Dragons started back in the bottom of the sixth. After Thompson walked, Allen tripled to right field to drive him in and make it 6-2. Allen scored when Austin Hendrick lined a single to center to make it 6-3.

In the seventh, Nelson tripled to the left field bullpen area with one out, and Thompson followed with a walk and stole second.  Allen then tripled to left-center field to drive in Nelson and Thompson and make it 6-5. Hendrick followed with a double over the head of the right fielder to bring in Allen and tie the game.  With two outs, Rece Hinds doubled to left field to bring in Hendrick and give the Dragons the lead.

Dragons reliever Vin Timpanelli (1-1) had pitched a perfect seventh but ran into trouble in the eighth and was replaced by Donovan Benoit with two outs and runners at first and third.  Benoit got a strikeout to end the inning and hold the lead, and Benoit retired all three batters in the ninth to earn his 11th save.

The Dragons offense was led by Allen, with two triples and three runs batted in; Thompson with a home run, two walks, a stolen base, and three runs scored; Hendrick with a double, single, stolen base, and two RBI; and Hinds with a single, stolen base, and the tie-breaking RBI double in the seventh to brought in the eventual winning run.

The Dragons were 6 for 13 with men in scoring position.