Whitecaps rally to beat Dragons


DAYTON, Ohio – The West Michigan Whitecaps overcame a 4-0 deficit with five runs in the sixth inning on the way to a 5-4 victory over the Dayton Dragons on Saturday night. The contest was the final night game of the season for the Dragons. They will host West Michigan at 2:00 on Sunday and at the same time on Monday to close out the season.

The Dragons scored three runs in the first inning and another run in the fifth to build their 4-0 lead, only to see the Whitecaps take advantage of three walks, two errors, and a hit batsman in the sixth to score five runs.

In the first, Dayton’s Claudio Finol blasted a two-run home run to give the Dragons the early lead. They added another run later in the same inning when Morgan Lofstrom doubled, went to third on an error, and scored on a double play ball to make it 3-0.

In the fifth, Michael Siani manufactured a Dayton run when he reached on a bunt single, stole second, went third on an error, and scored a dropped third strike that went to the backstop to make it 4-0.

But West Michigan had a big inning against Dragons reliever Connor Curlis (4-6) in the sixth. Curlis hit the lead-off batter, walked the next two to load the bases, and surrendered a three-run triple to Riley Greene to make it 4-3. Greene eventually scored the tying run on an error, and West Michigan broke the tie in the game inning on Zach Malis’ two-out run-scoring single to bring in a runner from second.

The Dragons threatened to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth when Siani walked with two outs, stole second, and went to third on an error. But pinch hitter Matt Lloyd struck out to end the game.

The Dragons finished with nine hits including two each by Siani, Finol, and Juan Martinez.

Dragons starting pitcher Jordan Johnson, making his second appearance with the club as he returns from a shoulder injury, was outstanding, tossing four and two-thirds scoreless innings. He allowed three hits with no walks and three strikeouts.

Up Next: The Dragons (29-39, 57-81) battle the Whitecaps (27-41, 48-89) in the second game of the series on Sunday at 2:05 p.m. Eduardo Salazar (6-3, 4.00) will start for the Dragons while West Michigan will counter with Robbie Welhaf (4-7, 2.88). The series and season will conclude on Monday at 2:00 p.m. Sunday’s game will be televised on Dayton’s CW (channel 26; Spectrum cable channels 13 and 1013).

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