MIDLAND, Mich. –– Left-handed reliever Brennan Bernardino was in the game to try and force extra innings for the Dayton Dragons. Great Lakes Loons left-handed hitter Matt Beaty stepped into the batter’s box with a quick ending on his mind. It proved to be Beaty who would prevail as the Loons won in walk-off fashion for the ninth time this season 4-3 on Friday at Dow Diamond.
“I knew they were going to walk (Nick) Sell in front of me with them wanting the lefty-lefty matchup and more than likely I was going to get a curveball,” Beaty said. “I was sitting on it, got the pitch and put a decent swing on it to make them make a play.”
Jordan Tarsovich led off the bottom of the 9th inning with a single off Bernardino (2-3), who took the loss and was saddled with his third blown save. Jimmy Allen advanced Tarsovich to second base with a sacrifice bunt, and after a strikeout and the intentional walk, it was Beaty who found a hole in the defense. A seeing-eye single between the first and second basemen allowed Tarsovich to score from second. Beaty finished the night 4-for-5 with an RBI.
“It was a good win for us because we have a different team right now,” said Loons manager Luis Matos. “We’re trying to get that chemistry back right now with 18 games left in the (regular) season. With this win it’s an example that we’re going in the right direction.”
Roster moves have been an over-arching theme for Great Lakes (61-60, 23-30) with 138 moves taking place so far in 2015, most notably with four Loons being promoted to High-A Ranch Cucamonga during the recent nine-game road trip.
One of those players that was added back to the Loons roster in the eight-player shuffle was Brian Wolfe, who extended his hitting streak to 11 games after going 2-for-5 against Dayton (62-61, 23-30). It’s a streak that spans over three months from May 12 to Friday.
“This is the time for Brian to shine,” Matos said. “I know he was hitting good but then he was placed on the disabled list. Now, he’s going to get the chance to play every day which is good, because he’s a really good hitter.”
The home team didn’t waste any time as the Loons jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the 1st when Tarsovich and Allen each scored on a single from Wolfe. Dayton, trailing 2-1, then jumped back in front in the top of the 6th when Garrett Boulware drove two runs in off Victor Gonzalez, who blew a save opportunity. Sell then tied the game in the 8th as he scored on a throwing error from Dragons left fielder Johnathan Reynoso.
Loons starter Isaac Anderson tied his season-high going five innings, the fourth time he’s done so this season. He allowed just the one run on four hits, did not walk a batter and struck out four. Loons starting pitchers have yet to pitch into the 6th inning in the month of August.
Bubby Rossman (3-1), after walking the lead-off hitter Boulware to begin the top of the 9th inning, proceeded to strike out the side en route to picking up the win.
The second game of the series is set for Saturday night at Dow Diamond. Dodgers 2014 1st round pick Grant Holmes, who’s had a stellar first year in full-season baseball, will get the start for the Loons. The right-hander in 22 starts is 6-3 with a 2.96 ERA and ranks in the Top 10 in strikeouts in the Midwest League with 107. Jake Paulson, a native of Wixom, Mich., is tabbed as the Dayton starter.
Immerse yourself into the Wild West at the ballpark with Country Western Night taking over proceedings. Stick around after the game for a Fireworks Loontacular powered by Dow Corning. It will also be Mason Night.