Grand Rapids, MI – Francisco Contreras’ run-scoring single broke a 2-2 tie in the seventh inning as the West Michigan Whitecaps defeated the Dayton Dragons 3-2 on Friday night. The Whitecaps have won the first two games of the series that concludes on Saturday night.
The Dragons began the day in a tie with Great Lakes in the wildcard race. At the time of this posting, Great Lakes trailed Bowling Green 5-3 in the sixth inning in Kentucky. There are 10 games remaining to play.
West Michigan led the Dragons 2-0 through five innings before the Dragons rallied to tie the game in the sixth. Nick Benedetto singled to start the inning and Jonathan Reynoso beat out a bunt hit. Ronald Bueno was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no one out. After Alex Blandino struck out, Tanner Rahier singled to left to drive in Benedetto as the bases remained loaded. Jon Matthews then hit a fly ball to center field that was caught by Ross Kivett. Reynoso tagged at third and tried to score. The throw home beat Reynoso, but West Michigan catcher Arvicent Perez dropped the ball as he applied the tag and Reynoso scored to tie the game at 2-2. With runners at second and third, Jose Ortiz grounded out to end the inning, and the Dragons did not have another base runner the rest of the night.
In the West Michigan seventh, Domingo Leyba walked with one out against Dragons reliever Pedro Diaz (2-2), and Bennett Pickar followed with a single to move Leyba to second. Evan Mitchell replaced Diaz and surrendered a base hit through the middle by Contreras to bring in Leyba and give West Michigan a 3-2 lead.
Dragons starting pitcher Nick Howard pitched well. He worked five innings, allowing four hits and two runs (one earned) with one walk and three strikeouts. He was not involved in the decision.
The Dragons had five hits by five different players. All five were singles. West Michigan pitchers walked only one and struck out 16.
The Dragons (28-32) close out the road trip against the Whitecaps (38-22) on Saturday night at 7:10 p.m. Amir Garrett (7-7, 3.60) will start for the Dragons against West Michigan’s Artie Lewicki (2-2, 3.05).
The next home game is Sunday, August 24 vs. Great Lakes at Fifth Third Field. The game will have a special start time of 4:00 p.m.