Dragons drop slugfest in Fort Wayne

Fort Wayne, IN – Dustin Peterson collected three hits and drove in four runs to lead the Fort Wayne TinCaps to a 14-9 victory over the Dayton Dragons on Memorial Day afternoon. The Dragons fell to 27-22 with the loss but held onto a slim lead of three percentage points over West Michigan in the first half wildcard race.

Fort Wayne has won the first two games in the series.   For the second straight day, they enjoyed big innings on the way to the win. They scored three runs in the second inning, five in the third, and five in the fifth to build a commanding 14-7 lead.

The Dragons got off to a good start, scoring three runs in the top of the first inning. Phillip Ervin began the rally with a two-out infield single, stole second, and scored on Sebastian Elizalde’s double to right-center field. Sean Buckley doubled to left-center to drive in Elizalde, and Sammy Diaz singled to right to bring in Buckley and make it 3-0.

Fort Wayne responded and jumped out to a 9-3 lead through three innings. The Dragons battled back and scored twice in the fourth to make it 9-5. Then in the Dayton fifth, Carlton Daal’s infield single drove in one run, and Jamodrick McGruder singled to left to bring in another and make it 9-7. After McGruder’s single, a wild pick-off throw moved runners to second and third with only one out, and the Dragons were on the verge of a big comeback. But Fort Wayne reliever Tony Rizzotti struck out Jeff Gelalich for the second out and got Phillip Ervin to pop foul to first base to end the inning. Fort Wayne answered with five runs in the bottom of the fifth to extend their lead to a seven-run margin.

Dragons starting pitcher Nick Travieso (5-2) endured his first rough outing of the season. Entering the game, Travieso featured a league-leading earned run average of 1.60. But he lasted only two and two-thirds innings, allowing eight hits and nine runs (eight earned) with three walks and no strikeouts. His ERA ballooned to 2.87 as he suffered the loss.

The Dragons collected 13 hits. All nine batters in the Dayton lineup had at least one hit.   Daal led the way with three hits, a run scored and an RBI. Joe Hudson and Sammy Diaz each had two hits. McGruder had one hit and three walks. The Dragons had 20 at-bats with runners in scoring position, collecting seven hits, but they stranded 13 runners. Fort Wayne was an outstanding 10 for 17 with men in scoring position.

The Dragons fell to 27-22 with the loss while Fort Wayne improved to 21-29.

The Dragons close out the series in Fort Wayne against the TinCaps again on Tuesday at 11:05 a.m. Daniel Wright (3-2, 2.06) will start for the Dragons against Fort Wayne’s Walker Weickel (1-6, 7.17). The Dragons open a three-game series at West Michigan on Wednesday at 6:35 p.m. The next Dragons home game is Saturday, May 31 vs. Lansing at 7:00 p.m.

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