Dragons a run short against Whitecaps

Dayton, OHIO – Raph Rhymes drilled a tie-breaking double to left field with two outs in the seventh inning and the West Michigan Whitecaps held on to defeat the Dayton Dragons 6-5 on Sunday afternoon. A crowd of 7,943 saw the game at Fifth Third Field as the Whitecaps topped the Dragons for the third straight day in the series.   West Michigan will try for the series sweep on Monday night.

The Dragons trailed 3-0 after two innings after a three-run home run by West Michigan’s Willy Adames in the top of the second.   Dayton tied the game in the third with a big inning. Gabriel Rosa doubled to start the inning and scored on a one-out single to right by Ronald Bueno. After Jack Hannahan singled to left, Phillip Ervin drove in two more runs with a base hit to left to tie the game at 3-3.

The Dragons took the lead in the fourth on Rosa’s home run to left field. It was Rosa’s second long ball of the year. Then in the fifth, Dayton’s Jamodrick McGruder belted a solo homer to right, his second of the year, to make it 5-3.

West Michigan scored one in the sixth to pull to within one. Then in the seventh, Pat Leyland led off with base hit to left and advanced to third on a one-out double by Wynton Bernard. Dragons reliever Tony Amezcua replaced starter Nick Traviesio and surrendered a game-tying sacrifice fly to Javier Betancourt. Rhymes then drilled a double to left to bring in Bernard and give West Michigan a 6-5 lead.

The Dragons had chances to tie the game in the eighth and ninth innings. In the eighth, Ervin walked to start the inning and went to second on a wild pick-off throw. He advanced to third on Daniel Pigott’s sacrifice and the Dragons had the tying run just 90 feet away with one out. But when Tanner Rahier grounded back to the pitcher, Ervin tied to score and was trapped between third base and the plate and eventually tagged out. Ervin was not able to stay in the rundown long enough to allow Rahier to get to second, which became significant when the next batter, Joe Hudson, lined a single to center field that could only advance Rahier to second.   Rosa struck out to end the threat.

In the Dayton ninth, Jonathan Reynoso started the inning with a base hit to right and went to second on McGruder’s sacrifice.   Bueno grounded out to first for the second out as Reynoso went to third. After Avain Rachal walked, Ervin grounded out to shortstop to end the game.

Travieso (7-5) worked the first six and one-third innings, allowing nine hits and six runs with two walks and four strikeouts to suffer the loss.

The Dragons (10-13) will host the Whitecaps (14-9) on Monday at 7:00 p.m. at Fifth Third Field in the finale of the four-game series.   Jackson Stephens (2-0, 2.79) will start for the Dragons against West Michigan’s Kevin Ziomek (7-6, 2.55). The Dragons do not play on Tuesday before beginning a six-game road trip on Wednesday at Beloit, Wisconsin against the Beloit Snappers.

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