DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The Dayton Dragons built a 6-1 lead over the first three innings and held off a West Michigan comeback bid as they defeated the Whitecaps 6-5. A crowd of 5,548 was in attendance at Day Air Ballpark.
The win was the third straight for the Dragons as they improved their record to 32-23 and jumped to nine games above the .500 mark for the first time this season.
The Dragons got off to a fast start, scoring three runs in the first and two more in the second. The first inning rally began when Jacob Hurtubise was hit by a pitch and Francisco Urbaez singled him to second. A passed ball advanced the runners to second and third, and Quin Cotton doubled to right to bring in two. Victor Ruiz followed with a hit to right to drive in Cotton and make it 3-0.
After West Michigan scored one run in the top of the second, the Dragons responded again. Reniel Ozuna lined a single to center with one out and Eric Yang walked. Hurtubise followed with a triple to the right field corner to drive in both runners and give the Dragons a 5-1 lead. Dayton added another run in the third when Ruiz singled with one out and scored from first on Jose Tello’s double to make it 6-1.
West Michigan started back in the fourth, getting back-to-back home runs from Andrew Navigato and Parker Meadows to make it 6-3. They added single runs in the fifth and sixth innings to pull within one run at 6-5.
But Dragons reliever Matt Gill (1-0) fired a perfect inning in the seventh and again in the eighth. Gill retired the final eight batters he faced. Ricky Karcher came in to pitch the ninth and got a pair of ground outs and a strikeout to run the string to 11 straight West Michigan batters retired to end the game. Karcher picked up his first career save and Gill was awarded the win.
The Dragons finished the night with eight hits. Cotton and Ruiz each had two. The Dragons went 3 for 4 with runners in scoring position.
The win gave the Dragons yet another victory in a close game. They are a league-best 20-8 in games decided by two runs or less. They are 9-1 at home in one-run games, and 17-9 at home overall.
Notes: The Dragons activated pitcher Tyler Garbee from the injured list on Wednesday. Francis Peguero was placed on the seven-day injured list…The Dragons are 5-2 against West Michigan this season.
The Race: The Dragons are one game ahead of Great Lakes in the East Division standings. Great Lakes was rained out on Wednesday and will play a doubleheader against Lansing on Thursday. Lake County is in third place, one and one-half games out of first.
Up Next: The Dragons (32-23) host West Michigan (25-29) in the third game of the series at Day Air Ballpark on Thursday at 7:05 p.m. Lyon Richardson (2-3, 5.21) will pitch for Dayton against Adam Wolf (1-1, 2.95).