Midland, MICHIGAN (WDTN) —Dayton’s Quincy McAfee blasted a grand slam home run and Eric Yang added a solo homer as the Dragons defeated the Great Lakes Loons 9-4 on Tuesday night in the season opener for both teams. The game marked the official entry for the Dragons and Loons into the new High-A Central League.
McAfee, a product of Pepperdine University, led a 13-hit Dayton attack by going 3 for 5 with the first grand slam by a Dayton player since July 27, 2019 when Brian Rey belted one in Fort Wayne. Yang had two hits including a home run while Michael Siani and Quin Cotton also added two hits for Dayton. Jacob Hurtubise, the Dragons lead-off hitter, had a bunt hit, two walks, two stolen bases, and three runs scored.
The Dragons built a 4-0 lead, saw Great Lakes battled back in the seventh inning to make it 4-2, and then extended the lead to 9-2 in the top of the ninth, keyed by McAfee’s grand slam. Great Lakes scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth to close out the scoring.
After the two teams played scoreless baseball over the first three innings, Yang opened the scoring with a solo home run in the top of the fourth inning. The Dragons added three more runs in the fifth. Miguel Bautista started the rally with a double to left field with one out. Hurtubise reached on a bunt single to move Bautista to third, and Hurtubise stole second. Siani followed with a single to right to drive in both Bautista and Hurtubise.
With Dayton leading 4-2 in the bottom of the eighth, Dragons reliever Braxton Roxby entered the game with two men on base and no outs. Roxby struck out all three hitters he faced to end the threat.
The victory was credited to Dragons reliever JC Keys, who went two and one-third innings without allowing a run. He surrendered just one hit. Dragons starting pitcher Lyon Richardson did not allow a hit or run in three innings, walking three and strikeout out three.
The Dragons will play at Great Lakes again on Wednesday night at 6:05 p.m. Eduardo Salazar will start for the Dragons against Robinson Ortiz. The game can be heard on WONE 980 AM or via the Dragons Mobile App.
Notes: The Dragons went 5 for 11 with runners in scoring position as a team…The game lasted three hours, 53 minutes, just three minutes short of the Dragons club record for longest nine-inning game…Dragons pitchers allowed just three hits in the game and none until the fifth inning.
The Dragons will open their 21st home season on May 11 at 7:05 p.m. against the Lansing Lugnuts at Day Air Ballpark.