DAYTON, Ohio – Jeff Gelalich blasted a grand slam home run with two outs in the seventh inning to lift the Dayton Dragons to a come-from-behind 6-3 victory over the South Bend Silver Hawks on Monday night. The Dayton win coupled with a loss by West Michigan allowed the Dragons to move back into first place in the Midwest League Eastern Division, one-half game ahead of the Whitecaps.
The Dragons trailed 3-1 when they came to bat in the seventh. Tanner Rahier was hit in the helmet by a pitch to start the inning, and Joe Hudson followed with a line drive hit to center. Jamodrick McGruder walked to load the bases with no one out. South Bend reliever Jake Roberts then struck out Carlton Daal and Nick Benedetto to get within an out of being out of trouble. But Roberts walked Jon Matthews to force in a run and make it 3-2. Gelalich followed by drilling a 1-2 pitch over the right field fence for his first career grand slam to give the Dragons a 6-3 lead.
Relievers Evan Mitchell, Joel Bender, and Scott Brattvet combined to work the final two innings for the Dragons, allowing only one base runner. Mitchell (1-1) earned his first career victory and Brattvet picked up his sixth save.
South Bend jumped out to an early lead when Joe Munoz cracked a two-run home run in the first inning to make it 2-0. It was Munoz’s fifth homer of the year. The Silver Hawks added another run in the third on a two-out RBI single by George Roberts.
The Dragons picked up their first hit and first run of the game in the fifth inning on a solo home run by Tanner Rahier, his fifth homer of the year, to make it 3-1. The Dragons did not have another hit until their five-run seventh.
Dragons starting pitcher Daniel Wright worked the first five and two-thirds innings, allowing seven hits and three runs (two earned) with one walk and seven strikeouts.
The win improved the Dragons record to 22-14. They have won six of their last eight games.
The Dragons host South Bend at Fifth Third Field again on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. Sal Romano (3-2, 3.26) will start for Dayton against South Bend’s Sean Furney, who will make his first appearance of the season. The series will continue Wednesday.