Great Lakes 5, Dragons 4
May 14, 2015
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Dayton (R-H-E): 4-9-2
Great Lakes (R-H-E): 5-6-2
WP: Brock Stewart (2-2)
LP: Wyatt Strahan (3-2)
Sv: Karch Kowalczyk (3)
HR: Dayton: None
HR: Great Lakes: None
Midland, Mich.—The Great Lakes Loons took advantage of two errors to score three unearned runs in the fourth inning on the way to a 5-4 victory over the Dayton Dragons on Thursday afternoon. The win allowed the Loons to gain a split of the four-game series with the Dragons.
For the third straight game, the Dragons scored in the top of the first inning to take the lead. Ty Washington singled to left to start the game and went to second when Brian O’Grady walked. Gavin LaValley followed with a single to left to drive in Washington and get the scoring started. After Avain Rachal reached on an error to load the bases, Jimmy Pickens grounded out to second base as O’Grady scored to make it 2-0.
But the Dragons would not score again until the ninth. Great Lakes scored in the second on Spencer Navin’s two-out, RBI single to cut the Dayton lead to 2-1 before the Loons jumped ahead in the fourth. The inning began when Dragons starting pitcher Wyatt Strahan hit back-to-back batters. Mike Ahmed then dropped a sacrifice bunt between the mound and the third base line. Strahan fielded the bunt, but his throw to first was off target, allowing a run to score and leaving a first-and-third situation with no one out and the score tied at 2-2. Reliever Scott Brattvet replaced Strahan and retired the next two batters with the runners holding. With two outs, Ahmed stole second base. On the play, Dragons catcher Garrett Boulware looked to second, but threw to third in an effort to pick off the lead runner. His throw bounced to the foul side of the bag and skipped down the left field line, allowing both runners to score to make it 4-2. Great Lakes added another run in the fifth on Navin’s second two-out, RBI single of the day.
The Dragons struggled to generate any offense through the seventh inning, picking up only a pair of singles in the third and sixth. In the top of the eighth, trailing 5-2, they got back-to-back two-out singles by Rachal and Pickens, but Boulware grounded out to the pitcher to end the threat.
In the Dayton ninth, Jonathan Reynoso singled to right with one out and went to second on Washington’s infield hit to bring the tying run to the plate. Luis Gonzalez grounded out to the pitcher to advance the runners to second and third with two outs, and O’Grady singled to right to drive in two and make it 5-4. But Great Lakes reliever Karch Kowalczyk struck out LaValley to end the game.
Strahan (3-2) was charged with the loss. He worked three innings before leaving the game with no one out in the fourth. Strahan allowed four hits and four runs (one earned) with three walks and three strikeouts. He also hit two batters and was charged with two wild pitches.
The Dragons bullpen pitched well. Brattvet was charged with one run in three innings of work before Jeremy Kivel and Jake Paulson each tossed a scoreless inning.
The Dragons finished with nine hits, all singles. Washington and Rachal each had two hits. O’Grady’s ninth inning base hit extended his hitting streak to eight straight games. The Dragons were just 2 for 12 with men in scoring position.
After opening the season by going 11-0 in games in which they scored the first run of the contest, the Dragons lost back-to-back games Wednesday and Thursday despite scoring in the top of the first inning both mornings. They led 1-0 after one inning on Wednesday but did not score the rest of the day in an 11-inning 2-1 loss. After the two runs in the top of the first Thursday, they did not score again until the ninth.
The Dragons began the day in a three-way tie for second place, two games behind Bowling Green. The Hot Rods also lost, keeping the Dayton deficit at two. But Lansing won to move ahead of the Dragons and pull to within one game of Bowling Green. The other team that was part of the three-way tie for second, Lake County, plays at Fort Wayne tonight.
The Dragons (18-16) travel to Eastlake, Ohio to begin a three-game series with Lake County on Friday at 6:30 p.m. The Captains were 18-15 entering Thursday night’s game at Fort Wayne and had won six straight games. Tejay Antone (3-2, 2.02) will pitch for the Dragons against Lake County’s Thomas Pannone (2-0, 4.37) on Friday. The next home game is Monday, May 18 vs. Great Lakes at Fifth Third Field.
All Dragons games are broadcast on radio on Fox Sports 980 WONE and on the internet at wone.com. Games are also available on the Dayton Dragons mobile app.