7-Run fifth inning keys Dragons 9-5 victory

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DAYTON, Ohio – Bren Spillane’s two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning erased a 4-3 deficit and lifted the Dayton Dragons to a 5-4 victory over the Clinton Lumber Kings on Monday night at Fifth Third Field.  The win was the third in the last four games for the Dragons as they opened a six-game home stand.  A crowd of 8,131 was in attendance. 

The Dragons took a 3-1 lead in the third inning and held that lead until the top of the eighth when Clinton’s Will Banfield delivered a two-out, three-run double to give the Lumber Kings a 4-3 lead. 

In the bottom of the eighth, Dayton’s Shard Munroe started the comeback rally with a sharp single to center field.  Miguel Hernandez sacrificed Munroe to second, and Spillane followed with a long home run to left field, his third homer of the year, to give the Dragons a 5-4 lead. 

Dragons reliever Julio Pinto, who had given up the three-run double by Banfield in the eighth, returned to the mound in the ninth.  Pinto struck out the first batter of the inning before allowing a base hit to put the tying run at first base.  He notched another strikeout for the second out and then got a routine fly out to left field to end the game. 

The Dragons got the scoring started in the first inning when Mariel Bautista blasted a 411-foot home run to left field that landed on the roof of the concessions building.  The home run, the fifth of the year by Bautista, gave the Dragons a 1-0 lead. 

After Clinton tied the game with an unearned run in the second, the Dragons regained the lead in the third on back-to-back home runs by Morgan Lofstrom and Carlos Rivero to make it 3-1.  The homers were the first by consecutive batters for the Dragons since August 5, 2018, when Jose Garcia and Shard Munroe hit home runs at West Michigan. 

Dragons starting pitcher Lyon Richardson worked a career-high six innings, allowing just one unearned run on two hits with three walks and three strikeouts. 

Alexis Diaz followed Richardson and pitched a scoreless seventh inning before allowing Clinton to load the bases with no one out in the eighth.  Diaz got a strikeout for the first out before being replaced by Andy Cox, who struck out the only batter he faced for the second out of the inning.  Pinto replaced Cox and surrendered the double to Banfield before working the scoreless ninth inning. 

Notes:  The four home runs marked a season-high for the Dragons…Dayton starting pitchers had not worked more than five innings in a game prior to Sunday, when James Marinan tossed seven innings, and Richardson followed with six on Monday night…The Dragons committed one error on Monday, snapping a string of four straight games without a defensive miscue.  

Up Next:  The Dragons (11-19) host Clinton (15-14) at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday at Fifth Third Field in the second game of the series.  Jared Solomon (0-1, 4.58) will start for Dayton against Manuel Rodriguez (1-1, 4.64).  

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