DAYTON, Ohio – Eric Yang’s two-out double in the seventh inning drove in the only run of the game and three Dayton pitchers combined on a three-hit shutout as the Dragons defeated the Great Lakes Loons 1-0 on Friday night before a crowd of 5,919 at Day Air Ballpark.
The win gave the Dragons their first four-game winning streak of the season and lifted them to six games above the .500 mark for the first time as they improved to 20-14.
Dayton starting pitcher Graham Ashcraft struck out a career-high 10 batters in six scoreless innings, walking two while allowing only two hits. Andy Fisher replaced Ashcraft to start the seventh and struck out the side in order.
In the bottom of the seventh, Quincy McAfee walked to start the inning and went to second on a ground out. With two outs, Yang lined a double to the gap in right-center field to drive in McAfee and break the scoreless tie.
Fisher allowed a lead-off walk to start the eighth inning, retired the next two hitters, and then gave up a two-out single to put men at first and second. Jake Gilbert replaced Fisher and issued a walk to load the bases, but Gilbert struck out the Loons top RBI man, Leonel Valera, to end the threat and strand three. Gilbert worked a perfect ninth inning to earn his first save. Fisher (1-1) picked up the win.
The Dragons have won the first four games of the six-game series in a variety of ways. The game back from big deficits to win the first two games in the series, got a first inning grand slam on Thursday and led the rest of the night, and then broke a scoreless tie in the seventh on Friday. Dayton has beaten Great Lakes nine times in 10 meetings this season, while the Loons have gone 15-9 against the rest of the league.
Dayton pitchers ended Miguel Vargas’ 26-game hitting streak on Friday. Vargas went 0 for 4 in the game.
The Race: The first place Dragons (20-14) remained one and one-half games ahead of West Michigan in the East Division standings with the win. West Michigan beat Lansing on Friday.
Notes: Ashcraft has not allowed an earned run over his last three starts covering 18 innings. He moved into second place in the league strikeout race with 48 on the year, pending the results of other Friday games.
Up Next: Dayton hosts Great Lakes on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. at Day Air Ballpark in the fifth game of the six-game series. Spencer Stockton (2-1, 6.57) will start for the Dragons against Logan Boyer (0-0, 3.52).