[From Tom Gauthier, Hot Rods Director of Broadcast/Media Relations.]
Dayton, OH – Tyler Bortnick smashed a two-run home run and Kirby Yates threw five strong innings in his first pro start, leading the Hot Rods to a 5-2 win over the Dayton Dragons on Saturday night. The win completes Saturday’s doubleheader sweep after a thrilling 10-7 win during the afternoon game. The Hot Rods also earn a series win by taking the first three games from Dayton with two games left in the series.
The Hot Rods began the scoring with a two-run second inning against Pedro Villarreal. Mark Thomas started with a walk, taking second on a ground out by Dustin Biell. Brett Nommensen reached on catcher’s interference to put runners at first and second. After Julio Cedeno flew out to right field, Diogenes Luis walked to load the bases. Villarreal then hit Ty Morrison, forcing in the first run for a 1-0 Hot Rods lead. Chris Murrill immediately followed with a bunt single to score Nommensen for a 2-0 lead.
Two innings later, the Hot Rods tacked on three more two-out runs. Luis had a one-out single and was still at first base with two down for Murrill. The DH lofted a fly ball into shallow left field. Shortstop DiDi Gregorius and left-fielder Cameron Satterwhite converged and then collided, allowing the ball to drop in safely and for Luis to score all the way from first base.
Murrill wound up at second base on the play as Tyler Bortnick stepped up to the plate. He wasted little time making the Dragons pay for their mistake, belting a long two-run homer to left to stretch the lead to 5-0. The homer was Bortnick’s second of the season and gave him 11 RBI.
The early run support was a big help to Kirby Yates, making his first start because of Saturday’s doubleheader. The right-hander, solid out of the bullpen this season, was just as good in the rotation. He allowed four hits over five innings of work. He nearly made it through his outing without giving up a run until Mark Fleury took him deep with two outs in the fifth inning. He struck out four and didn’t walk a batter over five full innings.
Jairo De La Rosa took over for the next three innings, keeping the lead at 5-1. He allowed just a pair of hits with three strikeouts in his longest outing of the season. He turned it over to Alex Koronis, who allowed a run in the ninth inning but left the bases loaded to preserve the 5-2 win and a sweep of Saturday’s doubleheader.
As an offense, the Hot Rods managed just seven hits, scoring five unearned runs. Luis had two of the hits while Bortnick, Murrill, and Morrison all drove in runs. For Morrison, who went 0-3 with 3 K’s and was hit by a pitch, it was a productive end to a great day. He was hit by a pitch in the second with the bases loaded to drive in the game’s first run. He finished the double-dip 4-7 with a homer, triple, and four RBI.
With a series win in hand, the Hot Rods will look to take another step closer to a sweep on Sunday afternoon at 1 PM CDT. RHP Alexander Colome (3-2, 1.97) draws the start against Dayton RHP J.C. Sulbaran (3-2, 4.65). You can follow the game with Tom Gauthier beginning at 12:45 PM CDT on 1340 AM WBGN and www.bghotrods.com.