MIDLAND, Michigan – Dayton reliever Connor Bennett worked out of a 10th inning jam as the Dragons held on to defeat the Great Lakes Loons 5-4 on Saturday night. The game was the second straight extra inning contest between the Dragons and Loons. Great Lakes edged the Dragons 5-4 on Friday night before the Dragons responded with their first extra inning win of 2019.
The Dragons took a 4-1 lead to the bottom of the eighth inning before the Loons rallied for three runs to tie the game, sending nine batters to the plate in the frame. Neither team had a base runner in the ninth as the game went to extra innings.
The Dragons opened the top of the 10th with free runner Carlos Rivero at second base. Michael Siani put down a sacrifice bunt that was fielded by the pitcher, who threw to third base but did not get the out as Rivero slid in safely. Miles Gordon then grounded out to first base as Rivero scored to give the Dragons a 5-4 lead.
Great Lakes started the bottom of the 10th with a free runner at second but elected not to employ a bunt attempt. Bennett struck out Gersel Pitre, got Miguel Vargas to fly out to left field, and struck out Jair Camargo to end the game.
The Dragons trailed 1-0 before scoring four runs in the sixth inning. Miguel Hernandez doubled off the left field fence to start the rally and Rivero reached on a bunt play to move Hernandez to third. Siani doubled to right field to drive in Hernandez to tie the game, and Gordon followed with a two-run double off the right field fence to give the Dragons a 3-1 lead. Brian Rey singled in Gordon to make it 4-1.
Dragons starting pitcher Connor Curlis threw 84 pitches over four and one-third innings, allowing one run on three hits with four walks and four strikeouts. Eduardo Salazar replaced Curlis and tossed an inning and two-third of scoreless baseball. Matt Pidich pitched a scoreless seventh inning before running into problems in the eighth. Pidich, who had a streak of 16 straight innings without allowing an earned run, gave up two hits and a walk to start the eighth and was eventually charged with three runs as Great Lakes rallied to tie the game. Bennett (2-4) got the final two outs in the eighth and finished the game, going two and two-thirds, allowing no runs on two hits with one walk and five strikeouts to earn the win.
The Dragons finished with just five hits. Hernandez, Siani, and Gordon each had a double. Gordon drove in three runs.
Up Next: The Dragons (28-41) close out the first half season in the Midwest League’s split-season format on Sunday at 2:05 p.m. against the Loons (42-24) in Midland. Jhon De Jesus (1-5, 5.11) will start for the Dragons against Jose Chacin (5-4, 5.57).
The Dragons will open the second half season on Thursday, June 20 at Fifth Third Field in Dayton against the Lansing Lugnuts at 7:00 p.m.