MIDLAND, Mich – Dayton starting pitcher Sal Romano matched a career high with nine strikeouts over five shutout innings as the Dragons defeated the Great Lakes Loons 3-1 on Sunday afternoon. The win gave the first place Dragons a sweep of the three-game series as they extended their lead to one and one-half games over South Bend in the Midwest League Eastern Division.
The Dragons, winners of four straight, closed out the road trip with a 4-3 record as they improved their full season mark to 15-7.
Romano (3-1) earned the win. He allowed just two hits while walking three to go along with the nine strikeouts, matching his career high set in 2012 with the Billings Mustangs of the Pioneer League. Scott Brattvet pitched a perfect ninth inning to earn his fourth save.
The Dragons got the scoring started in the fourth inning when Joe Hudson lined a single to center field to drive in Phillip Ervin from third with one out to make it 1-0. The Dragons scored on an error in the fifth, and Daniel Mateo lined a home run off the foul pole in right in the sixth to make it 3-0.
Great Lakes scored their only run in the sixth, an unearned run against Dragons reliever Ryan Kemp. Alejandro Chacin pitched a scoreless seventh and got the first out in the eighth before allowing a pair of singles. Zack Weiss replaced Chacin and got a soft line drive double play to end the inning. Brattvet worked the ninth to improve to 4 for 4 in save situations.
The Dragons finished with five hits. Jeff Gelalich was 2 for 5 with a triple and a run scored.
Dragons pitchers have allowed a total of six runs in the last five games. They allowed four runs in three games to Great Lakes, a team that leads the Midwest League in runs scored. Sunday’s game lowered the Dragons league-leading ERA to 2.34.
The Dragons return on Monday to open a four-game series with the Lansing Lugnuts at Fifth Third Field at 7:00 p.m. Ismael Guillon (1-0, 1.16) will start for Dayton against Lansing’s Chase De Jong (0-0, 4.61). Guillon is fifth in the Midwest League in earned run average and leads the league in lowest opponent’s batting average at .116 (8 for 69).
The probable Dragons pitchers for the rest of the series with Lansing include Amir Garrett on Tuesday, Nick Travieso on Wednesday, and Daniel Wright on Thursday.