SOUTH BEND, Indiana - South Bend's Rudy Flores collected three hits, drove in three runs, and belted a tie-breaking home run leading off the bottom of the eighth inning as the Silver Hawks defeated the Dayton Dragons 5-4 on Saturday night. With the win, South Bend clinched first place in the Eastern Division first half race and qualified for the Midwest League playoffs in September.
Flores drilled a 2-0 pitch from Dragons reliever Jesus Adames (1-1) over the right field fence to lead-off the eighth inning, capping a comeback effort by the Silver Hawks. The Dragons led 3-0 after one-half inning of play.
In the top of the first, Dayton's Seth Mejias-Brean came to the plate with two men on and two outs and blasted the first pitch for a home run to left field. It was Mejias-Brean's third homer of the year and his second on consecutive swings after he homered in his last at-bat on Friday night.
Flores delivered a run-scoring double off the left-center field fence in the bottom of the second as South Bend scored two to make it 3-2. The Dragons plated a run in the second when Zach Vincej doubled, went to third on Beau Amaral's single, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Sammy Diaz to put the Dragons ahead 4-2. South Bend tied the game with two runs in the third.
Dragons starting pitcher Drew Cisco worked the first six innings and was not involved in the decision. He allowed four runs on eight hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Adames replaced Cisco to start the seventh and pitched a scoreless frame before surrendering the home run by Flores in the eighth. He suffered the loss, allowing three hits and one run with a walk and a strikeout in one inning of work. Wandy Peralta replaced Adames with two on and no one out in the eighth and did an excellent job, retiring all three batters he faced and stranding two.
The Dragons finished with nine hits. Daniel Pigott was 2 for 4 while seven other players had one hit. Mejias-Brean's home run extended his hitting streak to 10 straight games, the longest of the year for a Dayton player. Vincej's double was the only other extra base hit.
The Dragons (27-41) battle the Silver Hawks (44-24) on Sunday at 2:05 p.m. in the last game of the first half of the Midwest League's split-season format. Ismael Guillon (2-6, 6.71) will start for Dayton against South Bend's Daniel Watts (8-3, 3.74). The Dragons host the Midwest League All-Star Game on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. at Fifth Third Field.
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