Grand Rapids, MI – Starting pitcher Wyatt Strahan and reliever Brian Hunter combined on a five-hit shutout as the Dayton Dragons defeated the West Michigan Whitecaps 4-0 in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon. The Whitecaps came back to defeat the Dragons 13-3 in the second game to earn a split.
Strahan, a 2014 third round draft pick out of USC, earned his first professional victory. The right-hander worked five and two-thirds innings, allowing five hits (all singles) with three walks and two strikeouts. Hunter earned the save by retiring all four batters he faced with one strikeout.
The Dragons took command with two runs in the first inning and two more in the second. They collected six hits over the first two innings including four extra base hits. Brian O’Grady’s run-scoring triple got the scoring started, and Gavin LaValley doubled with two outs to drive in O’Grady. In the second inning, Jimmy Pickens doubled to the right field fence to start the inning. After a single by Garrett Boulware moved Pickens to third, Ty Washington doubled to drive in Pickens, and Boulware scored on a sacrifice fly by Luis Gonzalez to make it 4-0 and close out the scoring in the game.
In the second game, the Dragons trailed 5-3 before West Michigan scored eight runs in the fifth inning to break open a close contest. The Whitecaps took advantage of four Dayton errors in the game leading to nine unearned runs. West Michigan’s Michael Gerber collected three hits and scored three runs to lead an 11-hit attack.
The Dragons were led in game two offensively by Ronald Bueno with two hits including a triple and a run scored, and Narciso Crook, who had two hits including a double, two stolen bases, and a run scored. Dragons starting pitcher Jake Paulson suffered the loss, working three and one-third innings and allowing five runs (three earned) on five hits with a walk and a strikeout.
The Dragons 2015 home Opening Day game is Sunday, April 12 vs. the South Bend Cubs at 4:00 p.m. at Fifth Third Field. Tejay Antone will start for the Dragons against South Bend’s Zach Hedges. The series will continue on Monday and Tuesday with both games at 7:00 p.m. Seth Varner will start for the Dragons on Monday while Mark Armstrong will start on Tuesday.
Notes: The Dragons went 1-2 in the series at West Michigan, collected seven hits in each game. Crook went 3 for 10 (.300) with two doubles in the series to lead the offense.