GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Jose Torres delivered a tie-breaking RBI single while Austin Hendrick blasted his first home run with Dayton as the Dragons edged West Michigan 3-2 on Saturday night. The Dragons have won four of five in the series that concludes Sunday night at 6:10 p.m.
Four Dayton pitchers combined to allow just four hits and Elly De La Cruz belted his eighth homer of the year for the Dragons, who improved to 30-13 on the season. The Dragons will try to climb to 18 games over .500 on Sunday, a mark they have not reached since the 2011 season.
The Dragons are in first place in the Midwest League East Division, six games ahead of second place Great Lakes (pending the completion of Great Lakes’ Saturday game) with 23 games to play in the first half season.
Game Recap: Elly De La Cruz got the scoring started with a home run in the top of the first inning, and after West Michigan tied the score in the bottom of the first, Austin Hendrick drilled a long home run to right field in the second. It was the first with the Dragons for Hendrick, the Reds first round draft pick in 2020. He hit seven earlier this season for Single-A Daytona.
With Dayton leading 2-1 in the fourth, West Michigan loaded the bases with no outs but settled for just one run to tie the game. Dayton reliever Braxton Roxby replaced starter Christian Roa with two outs and three men on base and got a strikeout to end the inning. It was Roxby’s first appearance of the year as he returns from an injury.
Dayton took the lead for good in the fifth. After a pair of walks to Garrett Wolforth and Michael Trautwein, Jose Torres lined a single to left to drive in Wolforth from second base to give Dayton a 3-2 lead.
James Marinan entered the game to pitch in the bottom of the fifth inning and worked four scoreless frames, allowing just two hits with two walks and two strikeouts. Myles Gayman pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his first save.
The Dragons finished with six hits. De La Cruz was 2 for 4 with a home run and single. Hendrick was 1 for 2 with a home run and two walks.
Notes: The Dragons improved to 11-3 in one-run games and 18-4 in games decided by two runs or less…The Dragons clinched their seventh series win of the year. They have split one series but have not lost a series…Dayton is 9-2 vs. West Michigan this season.
Up Next: The Dragons will close out the set with the Whitecaps in West Michigan on Sunday night at 6:10 p.m. James Proctor (3-2, 3.33) will start for Dayton.
The Dragons return home to host the South Bend Cubs on Tuesday, May 31 at 7:05 p.m. at Day Air Ballpark in the heart of the Water Street District. Joe Boyle, the Midwest League leader in earned run average at 0.53, is scheduled to start for Dayton on Tuesday.