SOUTH BEND, Ind. – South Bend’s Yonathan Perlaza drew a bases-loaded walk to force in the winning run with no one out in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Cubs edged the Dayton Dragons 3-2 on Saturday night.
The game was tied 2-2 to start the bottom of the ninth inning. South Bend’s Chase Strumpf opening the inning with a ground ball single to right field against Dayton reliever Karsen Lindell (0-1). Tyler Durna followed with a single to right that moved Strumpf to third. The Dragons intentionally walked Nelson Velazquez to load the bases, and Lindell walked Perlaza on four pitches to force in the winning run.
The Dragons scored the first run of the game in the top of the third inning. Mariel Bautista got the inning started with a base hit to left and Jacob Hurtubise followed with a bunt single. Bautista reached third base on the play when the throw to first briefly got away. Quincy McAfee grounded to short as Bautista scored to make it 1-0. South Bend responded with single runs in the next two innings to take a 2-1 lead.
The Dragons bounced back to tie the game at 2-2 in the top of the fifth on a solo home run by Francisco Urbaez, his first professional homer. But Dayton collected just one hit the rest of the night, a single by Urbaez with two outs in the top of the ninth.
Dragons starting pitcher Eduardo Salazar tossed six innings, a season-high for a Dayton pitcher. He allowed two runs on seven hits with no walks and seven strikeouts. Francis Peguero replaced Salazar and fired two perfect innings, giving Peguero six scoreless frames on the year. Lindell entered the game to start the ninth and did not record an out. He was charged with the loss.
The Dragons finished the night with just four hits, matching their total from Friday. Urbaez was 2 for 3 with the solo homer and a walk. Bautista and Hurtubise had the other two hits, both singles.
Despite the loss, the Dragons (10-7) remained in a first place tie with Lake County, who lost to Great Lakes on Saturday night.
The Dragons and Cubs (7-9) close out the six-game series in South Bend on Sunday at 2:05 p.m. Noah Davis (0-2, 5.02) will start for the Dragons against South Bend’s Chris Kachmar (0-1, 5.40).
The Dragons return home to open a six-game series against the Quad Cities River Bandits on Tuesday, May 25 at 7:05 p.m.
Notes: The Dragons stole three more bases in the game including two by Hurtubise, who took over the team lead with seven. Michael Siani had his sixth steal of the year. The team has stolen 31 in 17 games and continues to be on a pace to challenge the club record of 228 in 2011, when Billy Hamilton stole 103 to set a Reds organizational record.