Dayton, Ohio—Austin Hendrick blasted a home run and two doubles while Elly De La Cruz added a homer and triple as the Dayton Dragons defeated the Great Lakes Loons 14-8 on Tuesday night.  The game was the opener to a six-game series between the top two teams in the East Division.

A crowd of 7,293 was in attendance at Day Air Ballpark in the heart of the Water Street District.

The Dragons win improved their record to 36-15 on the season.  They are in first place, eight and one-half games ahead of the Great Lakes Loons in the Midwest League East Division with 15 games to play in the first half season.  The Dragons “magic number” to eliminate Great Lakes from the first half playoff race is seven (any combination of Dayton wins and Great Lakes losses totaling seven over the final 15 games would eliminate Great Lakes).  The Dragons “magic number” to eliminate third place Lake County is also seven.

Game Recap:  The Dragons established a new season high for most runs in a game and matched a season-high for most runs in an inning with seven in the seventh.  They finished the night with 13 hits including three each for Austin Hendrick and Elly De La Cruz.  Hendrick, De La Cruz, and Garrett Wolforth all had home runs in the game for the Dragons.  Hendrick became just the third Dayton player this season to collect three extra base hits in a game with a home run and two doubles.

The Dragons took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a solo home run by De La Cruz to left-center field, his 11th homer of the year.  Great Lakes tied the game in the third on a solo homer by Ryan January.

In the fifth, the Dragons jumped back in front on a two-out, three-run double by De La Cruz to give Dayton a 4-1 lead.  After Great Lakes scored one run in the top of the sixth, the Dragons answered in the bottom of the same inning when Hendrick doubled to the right field corner and eventually scored after a pair of wild pitches to make it 5-2.

The Dragons broke the game open with seven runs in the seventh inning, keyed by a two-run home run by Hendrick and a three-run homer by Wolforth to extend their lead to 12-2.

Great Lakes scored three runs in the eighth and three more in the ninth, sandwiched around a two-run bottom of the eighth by the Dragons.

Dragons starting pitcher Joe Boyle (3-0) worked five innings to earn the win, allowing just one hit and one run with four walks and nine strikeouts.  Jake Gilbert relieved Boyle to start the sixth inning and allowed one run in two innings of work.  Braxton Roxby and Donovan Benoit each allowed three runs in an inning of work.

Up Next:  The Dragons host Great Lakes on Wednesday in the second game of the six-game series.  First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at Day Air Ballpark.  Evan Kravetz (3-0, 4.74) will start for Dayton.  For ticket information, go to daytondragons.com or call (937) 228-2287.