Dayton, Ohio—Three Dayton pitchers combined to slow down a high-scoring South Bend offense and Allan Cerda blasted a home run off the video board as the Dragons defeated the Cubs 4-2 on Tuesday night. The game was the opener to a six-game series.
A crowd of 7,479 was in attendance at Day Air Ballpark in the heart of the Water Street District.
The Dragons improved to 31-14 on the season. The Dayton win coupled with a loss by second place Great Lakes left the Dragons six and one-half games ahead of the Loons in the Midwest League East Division with 21 games to play.
Game Recap: The Dragons got the scoring started when Allan Cerda blasted a home run high off the video board in left field leading off the second inning. It was Cerda’s seventh homer of the year. Later in the same inning, Mat Nelson delivered a two-out single to drive in Justice Thompson from second base to make it 2-0.
South Bend’s Jake Slaughter hit a solo home run in the top of the fourth inning to cut the Dayton lead to 2-1, but the Dragons responded with a run in the bottom of the fourth to again lead by two. Thompson and Nick Quintana started the inning with hits, and Elly De La Cruz delivered a two-out, run-scoring single to make it 3-1.
South Bend again battled back with a run in the sixth to make it 3-2. Dragons reliever Evan Kravetz (3-0) held the lead in the inning by getting back-to-back strikeouts with the tying run at third to end the threat.
Dayton scored in the seventh when De La Cruz doubled, stole third, and scored on a two-out infield single by Austin Hendrick to make it 4-2.
Dragons closer Donovan Benoit worked the final two innings for his sixth save. Benoit faced the minimum six batters, allowing one hit and striking out three.
Dayton starting pitcher Joe Boyle pitched four innings, allowing one run on three hits with three walks and five strikeouts. Boyle’s earned run average is 0.72 after eight starts.
Offensively, De La Cruz and Jose Torres each had two hits for the Dragons as part of a nine-hit attack.