GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan - West Michigan’s Rey Rivera lined a base hit to center field to bring in the winning run from third base with no one out in the bottom of the 10th inning as the Whitecaps defeated the Dayton Dragons 5-4 on Thursday night. West Michigan won two-of-three in the series.
For the third time in the three-game series, the game was tied going to the ninth inning. Neither team scored in the ninth and the game went to extra innings for the first time in the set. The Dragons could not score in the top of the 10th and West Michigan began the bottom half of the inning with their free runner at second base. After a sacrifice bunt that was mishandled by Dayton first baseman Reshard Munroe moved the lead runner to third, Rivera hit a liner to center. Dragons outfielder Lorenzo Cedrola charged hard and had the ball in his glove momentarily but could not hold on as the runner raced in from third to end the game.
West Michigan took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning when Rivera drilled a double to left-center field to bring in two.
The Dragons battled back to score three runs in the fifth and take the lead. Alejo Lopez doubled and Raul Wallace walked with two outs. Jose Garcia connected on a triple to right-center field, and when the relay throw into third skipped past, Garcia came in to score and give the Dragons a 3-2 lead.
West Michigan regained the lead in the sixth, collecting three hits and scoring two runs in the inning to jump in front 4-3.
The Dragons pushed across a run in the eighth to tie the game again. Jeter Downs blooped a single to right field with one out, stole second, and scored on Lorenzo Cedrola’s single to right to make it 4-4.
Dayton starting pitcher Austin Orewiler worked the first six innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits with one walk and two strikeouts. Miguel Aguilar tossed two scoreless innings in relief of Orewiler, allowing one hit with three strikeouts. John Ghyzel (2-6) pitched a scoreless ninth but allowed the winning run in the 10th to take the loss.
The Dragons collected six hits. Alejo Lopez had a single, double, and walk.
In the Standings: The Dragons fell to 24-36 in the second half with the loss. They are five and one-half games behind West Michigan in the Midwest League’s East Division Second Half wildcard race. There are 10 games to play including seven home games for the Dragons.
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