Midland, Mich. – Paul Hoenecke hit a three-run home run to break open a 2-1 game while three Great Lakes pitchers combined on a three-hitter as the Loons defeated the Dayton Dragons 8-1 on Wednesday afternoon. The Dragons saw their three-game winning streak come to an end as their record dropped to 19-13 on the season. They fell to second place in the Midwest League’s Eastern Division, one-half game behind West Michigan.
The Dragons scored in the top of the first inning when Phillip Ervin singled to left field with two outs to bring in Jeff Gelalich from third. The Dragons led 1-0 until Great Lakes scored twice in the fifth to take their first lead of the series. In the sixth, Hoenecke belted his third home run of the season with runners at second and third and no one out to extend the Loons lead to 5-1.
The Dragons did not have a base runner after Carlton Daal’s bunt single leading off the third inning. Great Lakes tacked on three more runs in the eighth to close out the scoring.
The two Great Lakes runs in the fifth ended a string of 28 consecutive scoreless innings by Dayton pitchers. The Dragons posted shutout wins over the Loons on Monday and Tuesday.
Dragons starting pitcher Sal Romano (3-2) suffered the loss. He tossed scoreless baseball over his first four innings before allowing two unearned runs in the fifth and then giving up Hoenecke’s three-run homer in the sixth. His final line included five and two-thirds innings, seven hits, five runs (three earned) with no walks and two strikeouts. Pedro Diaz relieved Romano and retired all four batters he faced, getting two strikeouts. Evan Mitchell pitched the bottom of the eighth, surrendering three runs on four hits.
The Dragons had beaten the Loons in all five previous meetings this season. Great Lakes had scored a total of four runs in those five games.
The Dragons return home on Thursday as they host the Fort Wayne TinCaps at 7:05 p.m. at Fifth Third Field. Ismael Guillon (2-0, 2.48) will start for Dayton. Fort Wayne will counter with Walker Weickel (1-4, 7.81). The three-game series with Fort Wayne will continue through Saturday. All three games will be televised on WHIO Digital Channel 7.2 (Time Warner Cable channels 23 and 372).