DAYTON, OH – The game started on Monday and ended on Tuesday.
It started two hours and two minutes late thanks to precipitation that experts said had a 0% chance of falling.
It started with Great Lakes in second place in the playoff standings. And after a 3-2, 12-inning win for the Loons over the Dayton Dragons, completed at nearly 12:40am, the Loons found themselves tied with Dayton for the top playoff spot.
Joey Curletta led off the top of the 12th inning with a line drive double down the left field line. Josemar Cordero bunted Curletta up to third, setting the stage for Webster Rivas' heroics. The Loons catcher grounded a single up the middle to break a 2-2 tie the teams had been locked in since the sixth inning.
Loons pitchers combined to strikeout 19 Dragons, setting a season high. And in a season in which the bullpen has provided so many quality innings, the relief corps yet again shined.
Michael Johnson, Matt Campbell, Victor Araujo and Jacob Rhame followed a solid start by Brandon Martinez to hurl scoreless relief. Martinez surrendered a leadoff double in the sixth inning but struck out consecutive batters in the inning to depart the game with a runner at third and two outs. Johnson entered and surrendered a single to Robert Ramirez to tie the score, 2-2. Martinez finished the game with two runs allowed over 5 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts.
Campbell struck out four over 2 1/3 innings, allowing just one hit. Araujo fanned five in two frames. Rhame (5-3) earned the win with two scoreless innings, striking out three.
Paul Hoenecke drove in the Loons' first two runs of the game. He singled home Jesmuel Valentin in the first inning. Later in the sixth, his sac fly brought in Malcolm Holland.
Holland and Rivas finished the game with two hits each for the Loons.
A lineup gaffe by Dayton manager Jose Nieves gave the Loons an advantage before the game began. Dayton played the entire game with the pitcher in the fifth spot in the lineup after Nieves swapped Tanner Rahier and Avain Rachal between third base and DH without making the change pregame on the lineup card. Between pitchers and pinch hitters, the fifth spot was a combined 0-for-5 with four strikeouts.
The Loons and Dragons meet for the middle game of a three-game series Tuesday night at 7pm ET. Right-hander Scott Barlow (4-5, 4.72 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Loons against Dayton righty Jackson Stephens (2-3, 5.30). The game will be broadcast live on ESPN 100.9-FM and ESPN1009.com.
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