MIDLAND, Michigan – Great Lakes’ Chris Roller lined a hit to left field to drive in the winning run from third base with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Loons edged the Dayton Dragons 1-0 on Sunday afternoon. The Loons have won the first two games of the four-game series.
The game was scoreless through the first eight innings as Dragons pitchers worked out of tough jams to keep the Loons from scoring in multiple innings. Great Lakes had a runner at third base with no outs in the fifth and sixth innings, and they had a man at third with one out in the seventh, but in each case, a different Dayton pitcher was able to work out of trouble. The Dragons turned a big double play in the sixth, and in the seventh, right fielder Andy Sugilio caught a fly ball in foul territory and threw out a runner at the plate was had tried to tag from third.
John Ghyzel (2-5) entered the game to start the bottom of the ninth for the Dragons and gave up a lead-off single. Dragons third baseman Alejo Lopez made an outstanding play on a ground ball for the first out, leaving pinch runner Drew Avans at second. The Dragons issued an intentional walk before Josh McLain singled to left to load the bases with one out. With the outfield playing shallow, Roller hit a liner to left. Dayton’s Reshard Munroe charged and tried to make a diving catch, but the ball bounced past him to allow Avans to score and end the game.
Dragons starting pitcher Packy Naughton was exceptional for the second straight outing. He struck out seven Loons batters over five scoreless innings, allowing just three hits and one walk. Miguel Aguilar walked two batters in his inning of work but pitched out of a bases-loaded, no out jam. Ryan Nutof tossed two scoreless innings to keep the game scoreless going to the ninth.
The Dragons finished with just three hits and could never advance a runner past second base in the game. The only extra base hit was a one-out double in the seventh by Andy Sugilio. Lopez went 0 for 2 with a walk as his hitting streak ended at 14 games.
In the Standings: The Dragons fell to 20-29 in the second half and have lost six straight games. They are two and one-half games behind Fort Wayne in the race for the final playoff spot in the Midwest League’s East Division Second Half race. There are 21 games to play including 13 home games for the Dragons. The Dragons are 2-9 on their 13-game road trip.
Austin Orewiler (4-4, 3.75) Joel Inoa (0-1, 6.75)