Dayton, Ohio (WDTN) Dayton starting pitcher Sal Romano allowed only one unearned run over six strong innings and Sammy Diaz collected three hits and scored three runs as the Dragons defeated the Lansing Lugnuts 10-5 on Monday night. A crowd of 7,931 saw the game at Fifth Third Field.
The Dayton win coupled with a West Michigan loss allowed the Dragons to gain a game on the Whitecaps in the wildcard race. The Dragons trail West Michigan by two games with 12 games to play in the first half race.
As they did in the first two games of the series, the Dragons built an early lead, jumping ahead 7-0 by the end of the fourth inning. And just as Lansing did on Saturday and Sunday, the Lugnuts roared back. They scored one in the fifth and four in the seventh to make it 7-5, leaving the tying runs on base in the seventh inning. But unlike the earlier games in the series, the Dragons answered with late runs of their own. The Dragons scored three in the bottom of the eighth to rebuild a commanding 10-5 lead and close out the scoring.
Prior the Dragons eighth inning rally, they had outscored Lansing 17-1 over the first five innings in the three-game set, but been outscored by the Lugnuts 17-0 over the final four innings.
The Dragons took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Phillip Ervin drilled a two-out triple and scored on Sebastian Elizalde’s single up the middle.
In the Dayton third, Sammy Diaz and Carlton Daal both singled to start the inning. Diaz scored on Daniel Pigott’s base hit off the glove of the third baseman and Daal stole home on the backend of an attempted double steal to make it 3-0.
The runs continued for the Dragons in the fourth when Diaz delivered a bases-loaded single that scored Jon Matthews to make it 4-0. With the bases still loaded, Daal hit a ground ball to Lansing first baseman Matt Dean, but Dean threw home wildly to allow two runs to score. A wild pitch brought in the fourth run of the inning to give the Dragons a 7-0 lead.
After Lansing closed the deficit to 7-5, the Dragons responded with a three-run eighth, keyed by a two-run single by Daal and an RBI double by Elizalde to wrap up the scoring.
Romano (4-4) allowed just five hits in his six innings, surrendering one unearned run with no walks and seven strikeouts to earn the win.
The Dragons 13-hit attack was led by Diaz’s three-hit night. Daal, Elizalde and Pigott each had two hits. Matthews had a hit and three walks.
The Dragons improved to 29-27 with the win. Lansing fell to 27-30. West Michigan, the wildcard leader, fell to 32-26 when they lost at Fort Wayne.
The Dragons do not play on Tuesday. They open a six-game road trip in Bowling Green, Kentucky on Wednesday at 8:05 p.m. on Wednesday at 8:05 p.m. in the first game of the three-game series. Ismael Guillon (3-0, 2.87) will start for Dayton against Bowling Green’s Jaime Schultz (1-0, 1.20).