DAYTON, Ohio – West Michigan starting pitcher Jonathon Crawford and two relievers combined on a five-hit shutout as the Whitecaps defeated the Dayton Dragons 1-0 on Friday night. The crowd of 9,519 was the largest of the year at Fifth Third Field.
The loss dropped the Dragons back into a tie with West Michigan for the Eastern Division first half wildcard spot with 22 games to play.
Crawford (2-1), the Detroit Tigers first round draft pick in 2013, worked seven dominant innings without allowing a runner past first base. He allowed three hits and one walk. His strikeout total of nine was a season-high for a Dragons opponent. West Michigan relievers Julio Felix and Joe Mantiply each pitched an inning to close out the game.
The Dragons best chance to score came in the bottom of the ninth. Jeff Gelalich drew a one-out walk and after Phillip Ervin flied out to left, Sebastian Elizalde singled to right to move Gelalich around to third. But Mantiply struck out Tanner Rahier to end the game and preserve the shutout. The two clubs have split the first two games of the series.
Dragons starting pitcher Sal Romano (3-3) was a hard-luck loser. Romano worked six innings, allowing just two hits and one unearned run with one walk and six strikeouts. He allowed only one runner past first base. Dan Langfield tossed two scoreless innings in relief of Romano and Ryan Kemp pitched a perfect ninth inning.
The only run of the game came in the fourth inning. With two outs and the bases empty, West Michigan’s Raph Rhymes drew a walk, went to second on a passed ball, and scored on a single over second base by Dominic Ficociello.
The Dragons collected five hits and all were singles. Elizalde was 3 for 4. Jamodrick McGruder and Joe Hudson had the other two hits.
The Dragons fell to 26-20 with the loss while West Michigan improved to 27-21.
The Dragons host West Michigan on Saturday night at Fifth Third Field at 7:00 p.m. in the wrap-up to the series and the homestand. Ismael Guillon (2-0, 2.83) will start for the Dragons against West Michigan’s Buck Farmer (5-3, 2.76).