Cedar Rapids, Iowa—Allan Cerda hit two home runs and drove in five runs to lead the Dayton Dragons to a 10-7 victory over the Cedar Rapids Kernels in a battle of division leaders on Thursday night. The Dragons have won two of three so far in the six-game series.
The Dragons win allowed them to maintain their three and one-half game lead over the second place Great Lakes Loons in the Midwest League East Division. There are seven games to play in the first half season. The Dragons magic number to clinch a first half division championship was trimmed to four with their victory.
Game Recap: For the second time in the series, the Dragons came out swinging with four runs in the top of the first inning. Elly De La Cruz had a run-scoring single before Allan Cerda belted a three-run home run in the inning. In the second, Justice Thompson connected on a solo homer, his third home run of the year, to make it 5-0.
Cedar Rapids battled back, scoring one run in the second before former Wright State star Seth Gray hit a two-run homer in the third to make it 5-3. But Cerda hit his second home run of the game in the fifth, a two-run shot, and his 12th of the year, to push the Dragons lead to 7-3.
Dayton scored three more runs in the eighth, keyed by a pair of RBI doubles by Mat Nelson and J.V. Martinez, to extend their lead to 10-3. Cedar Rapids responded with three in the eighth to make it 10-6, and they scored one in the ninth, getting the tying run to the plate, before falling short for the 10-7 final.
Dragons starting pitcher Connor Phillips (4-2) earned the win, going six innings and allowing three runs on four hits with two walks and six strikeouts.
The Dragons collected 14 hits. Nelson had three. Cerda, De La Cruz, and Ruben Ibarra each had two.
The Dragons were 6 for 13 with runners in scoring position, a big improvement on their recent struggles in that area.
Up Next: The Dragons play at Cedar Rapids on Friday night at 7:35 p.m. (EDT) in the fourth game of the series. Joe Boyle (3-0, 0.84) is expected to start for Dayton.
The Dragons return home to host the Lake County Captains on Tuesday, June 21 at 7:05 p.m. at Day Air Ballpark in the heart of the Water Street District. The seven-game series will include a doubleheader on June 22 at 5:35 p.m. For ticket information, go to daytondragons.com/tickets or call (937) 228-2287.
On the Air: All Dragons home and road games are broadcast on radio on FOX Sports 980 AM WONE. Games can be heard on smart phones, iPads, and other mobile devices via the free Dragons Mobile App, or on a computer at wone.com. Games are also available on HD Radio on 104.7 WTUI HD 2.