DAYTON, Ohio—Great Lakes reliever Brayden Fisher struck out five of the six batters he faced and the Loons pushed across a run in the top of the 11th inning before holding on to defeat the Dayton Dragons 4-3 on Friday night. Great Lakes has won three straight games in the series after the Dragons won the opener on Tuesday.
A crowd of 7,679 was in attendance at Day Air Ballpark in the heart of the Water Street District.
The Dragons fell to 36-18 on the season. They remain in first place, five and one-half games ahead of Great Lakes in the Midwest League East Division with 12 games to play in the first half season. The Dragons “magic number” to eliminate Great Lakes from the first half playoff race remained at seven (any combination of Dayton wins and Great Lakes losses totaling seven over the final 13 games would eliminate Great Lakes). The Dragons “magic number” to eliminate third place Lake County is five.
Game Recap: The Dragons jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second inning, getting a run-scoring ground out from Garrett Wolforth and an RBI single from Jonathan Willems. Great Lakes came back with three runs in the third to take a 3-2 lead, holding that lead until the seventh when the Dragons tied the game on a wild pitch that brought Willems in from third with two outs.
The game went to extra innings with each team beginning their time at bat with a free runner at second base. Dragons reliever Donovan Benoit worked out of trouble in the top of the 10th to keep the game tied, giving the Dragons a chance to win it in the bottom of the inning. But with the free runner at second, Rece Hinds and Allan Cerda both struck out and Wolforth flied out to right to send the game to the 11th inning.
Great Lakes scored in the top of the 11th to take a 4-3 lead. The Dragons came to bat in the bottom of the inning with their free runner, Wolforth, at second, and he quickly advanced to third on a wild pitch with no one out. But Nick Quintana, pinch hitter Jose Torres, and Justice Thompson struck out in order to end the game.
Over the last four innings, the Dragons had eight at-bats with a runner in scoring position, striking out seven times with one inning-ending fly out.
Benoit (1-1) was charged with a hard-luck loss. He allowed one unearned run in three strong innings of relief, giving up only one hit.
The Dragons finished with eight hits including two each by Cerda and Willems. But they did not hit a home run for just the second time in 10 games on the homestand, and they struggled to score without the home run ball. In the last three games, the Dragons are 4 for 39 with runners in scoring position, losing all three games by one run.
Notes: The Dragons bullpen, which had struggled in the first three games of the series, tossed six innings and allowed just one unearned run. Manuel Cachutt preceded Benoit with three scoreless innings, allowing just one hit.
Up Next: The Dragons host Great Lakes on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. in the fifth game of the six-game series at Day Air Ballpark. Christian Roa (3-2, 3.94) will start for Dayton.
On the Air: Saturday and Sundays games will be televised on Dayton’s CW (Channel 26; Spectrum Cable channels 13 and 1013).