DAYTON, Ohio – The Lake County Captains scored the tie-breaking run in the eighth inning and held off a Dayton comeback bid in the ninth as they defeated the Dragons 3-2 on Monday night. The game was the opener to a five-game series that will include a suspended doubleheader on Tuesday night at 6:00 p.m.
The Dragons trailed 3-2 with two outs and Shard Munroe at second base in the bottom of the ninth when Brian Rey lined a hit to left field. Munroe rounded third as Lake County left fielder Ruben Cardenas fielded the ball and fired a strike to the plate. Munroe was tagged out just before he touched home plate to end the game.
Lake County broke the tie in the eighth inning on a one-out single to right field by J.J. Berardi that scored pinch runner Hosea Nelson from second base. Nelson beat the tag by catcher Pabel Manzanero on a very close play.
Lake County got the scoring started in the top of the third inning when Cardenas homered to right field with a man on base to give the Captains a 2-0 lead. The Dragons answered in the fourth with two runs to tie the score. Reniel Ozuna singled to left field to start the rally, went to second base on a ground out, and took third on a two-out wild pitch. Mariel Bautista followed with a hard grounder that was misplayed by third baseman J.J. Berardi for an error as Ozuna scored and Bautista hustled into second. Manzanero followed with a bloop single to right to drive in Bautista and tie the game at 2-2. The Dragons did not seriously threaten to score again until the ninth.
Dragons starting pitcher Jhon De Jesus worked a personal season-high five and one-third innings, allowing two runs on seven hits with one walk and two strikeouts. Connor Curlis replaced De Jesus with one out and two runners on base in the sixth and worked out of the jam in his first game with the Dragons. Alexis Diaz replaced Curlis to start the seventh. Diaz allowed the lead-off man to reach in the eighth and then suffered an apparent knee injury while racing toward a foul pop on a bunt attempt from the second hitter of the inning. Diaz could not continue and was replaced by Matt Pidich, who allowed Berardi’s one-out single to drive in the tie-breaking run. The run was charged to Diaz (4-2) and he absorbed the loss.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, Manzanero led off the frame with a single to left, his third hit of the game. Zeek White pinch ran for Manzanero, but was picked off first base after straying from the bag on a pitch in the dirt. Munroe followed with a base hit, and after Miguel Hernandez struck out, Munroe advanced to third on a passed ball. Rey followed with the hit to left and Cardenas’ perfect throw home nailed Munroe to end the game.
The Dragons finished the night with six hits, all singles. Manzanero was 3 for 4 with a run batted in.
Notes: Prior to Monday’s game, the Dragons activated De Jesus from the injured list and received left-handed pitcher Connor Curliss from extended spring training. Curliss, from Findlay, Ohio, played at Ohio State. He was drafted by the Reds in the 24th round in 2018 and played at Billings last summer. Meanwhile, Dayton relief pitcher Adrian Rodriguez was transferred to Daytona and Moises Nova was placed on the Billings roster.
Up Next: The Dragons (14-29) host Lake County (25-17) in a suspended game doubleheader at Fifth Third Field on Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. The suspended game will resume in the top of the second inning with no score. The game began on April 14 but was stopped due to rain. The suspended game is scheduled for nine innings and will be followed by the regularly-scheduled game, a seven-inning game. In the second game, James Marinan (1-5, 6.18) will start for the Dragons and be opposed by Lake County’s Zach Draper (2-0, 0.32). The series will continue with games through Thursday.