Dayton, Ohio – Daniel Palka bounced a single to right field to drive in Breland Almadova from third base with the tie-breaking run with two outs in the top of the ninth inning as the South Bend Silver Hawks defeated the Dayton Dragons 5-4 on Tuesday at Fifth Third Field. The Dragons loss snapped their six-game winning streak while South Bend extended their winning streak to 10 straight.
The score was tied 4-4 going to the ninth inning when Almadova led off with a single to right field. He advanced to second base on a sacrifice and to third on a ground out. Palka, the league’s leading home run hitter and co-leader in runs batted in, hit a bouncer just beyond the reach of Dragons first baseman Daniel Pigott into right field to drive in Almadova and make it 5-4. The Dragons were retired in order in the bottom of the ninth by South Bend’s all-star closer, Will Locante.
The loss spoiled a good comeback effort by the Dragons, who trailed 4-1 in the second inning before rallying to tie the game in the sixth.
South Bend scored three runs in the top of the first inning on a two-out, three-run home run by Stryker Trahan. It was Trahan’s 13th homer of the year.
The Dragons scored in the bottom of the first on a run-scoring double to the gap in left-center field by Major Leaguer Jack Hannahan. It was the first pitch thrown to Hannahan in an official game this season as he returns from off-season shoulder surgery. Hannahan is with the Dragons on an injury rehabilitation assignment. Hannahan’s double made it 3-1, but South Bend answered with a run in the top of the second to again lead by three at 4-1.
The Dragons started back in the fifth inning. Joe Hudson blasted a long home run off the scoreboard above the left field fence to make it 4-2. It was Hudson’s third homer of the year. One batter later, Gabriel Rosa lined a shot to the gap in right-center that reached the fence. Rosa rounded second and headed for the third on the play and clearly would have been out, but the relay throw struck him and glanced into the third base dugout as Rosa was awarded home plate to make it 4-3. The Dragons tied the game in the sixth on a titanic home run to left-center field off the bat of Phillip Ervin to make it 4-4. It was Ervin’s fourth homer of the year. The Dragons did not collect a hit the rest of the night, finishing with five.
It was a bad night for hitting streaks for Dayton batters. Tanner Rahier (12 games), Jon Matthews (11 games) and Carlton Daal (8 games) and went hitless as their hitting streaks ended.
Dragons starting pitcher Nick Travieso endured a rough start, working four innings and allowing 10 hits and four runs with one walk and five strikeouts. Radhames Quezada and Joel Bender combined to work the final five innings, allowing just three hits and the ninth inning run that came against Bender (4-1).
The Dragons (9-9) take on the Silver Hawks (13-5) again on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. at Fifth Third Field. Jackson Stephens (1-0, 3.77) will start for the Dragons against South Bend’s Hector Hernandez (5-3, 3.26).
Notes: Hannahan went 1 for 3 with the RBI double, a groundout to shortstop, and a strikeout in his 2014 debut. He got three at-bats as the designated hitter before being pinch-hit for in the eighth inning. He is expected to remain with the Dragons throughout the entire homestand.