CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa—The Cedar Rapids Kernels pushed across the winning run with no one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, defeating the Dayton Dragons 4-3 on Sunday afternoon. The Kernels won four of six in the series.

The Dayton loss coupled with a win by second place Great Lakes cut the Dragons lead to one-half game in the first half playoff race with four games to play. The Dragons magic number to clinch a first half division championship remained at four, while Great Lakes’ magic number now also stands at four.

Game Recap: The Dragons took an early lead when the second batter of the game, Rece Hinds, belted a solo home run to left field. Cedar Rapids scored one run in the bottom of the first and another in the second to take a 2-1 lead.

The Dragons tied the game in the fourth when new Dayton catcher Daniel Vellojin walked, raced from first to third on a single to center by Jose Torres, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Austin Hendrick to make it 2-2.

In the seventh, Dayton’s Nick Quintana blasted a tie-breaking home run to left field to give the Dragons a brief 3-2 lead, but Cedar Rapids pushed across a run in the bottom of the same inning to tie the score, 3-3.

The Dragons had a great chance to score in the top of the ninth to take the lead. Vellojin singled to start the inning and the Dragons eventually advanced runners to second and third with one out, but back-to-back strikeouts by Garrett Wolforth and Quintana ended the inning.

In the bottom of the ninth, a lead-off double followed by a game-winning hit by Cedar Rapids catcher Frank Nigro, playing his first game with the Kernels, gave them the win against Dayton closer Donovan Benoit (1-2).

Dragons starting pitcher James Proctor pitched well, going six innings and allowing just two runs on four hits with two walks and eight strikeouts.

Up Next: The Dragons return home to host the Lake County Captains on Tuesday, June 21 at 7:05 p.m. at Day Air Ballpark in the heart of the Water Street District. Tuesday night’s game will begin at 7:05 p.m. Evan Kravetz (3-0, 5.01) will start for Dayton. The seven-game series will include a doubleheader on June 22 at 5:35 p.m.