Midland, Mich – Mark Armstrong fired six shutout innings and Brian O’Grady led a 15-hit attack with four singles and two stolen bases as the Dayton Dragons defeated the Great Lakes Loons 6-2 in the series opener on Friday night. The win was the Dragons sixth in the last seven games as they pulled to within two games of first place.
Armstrong (1-1) allowed four hits and two walks while striking out five to earn his first Midwest League victory. The 20-year-old from the Buffalo, New York area was the Cincinnati Reds third round draft pick in 2013.
The Dragons broke a scoreless tie with three runs in the fourth inning, getting run-scoring singles from Gavin LaValley and Jonathan Reynoso. The third run of the inning scored on an error. The Dragons added another run in the sixth when Narciso Crook singled, stole second, and scored on Wendell Soto’s two-out single to make it 4-0. In the eighth, the Dragons scored again when Avain Rachal singled, stole second, and went to third on Crook’s infield single. Rachal was replaced at third by pinch runner Jimmy Pickens due to a groin injury, and Pickens scored on a passed ball. Great Lakes answered with one run in the bottom of the eighth to make it 5-1. Each team scored in the ninth to close out the scoring.
The Dragons collected a season-high 14 hits. Along with O’Grady’s four hits, Crook, Reynoso, and Ty Washington each had two. Soto had a hit and three walks.
The Dragons improved their record to 12-10. They are in third place in the East Division, two games behind Lansing and one game behind Bowling Green.
The Dragons meet the Loons (9-10) in game two of the three-game series on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. Tyler Mahle (2-1, 2.78) will pitch for the Dragons against Great Lakes’ Kevin Guzman (0-2, 3.21).
Notes: O’Grady’s four-hit game was the first of the 2015 season for a Dragons player…The Dragons issued two walks in the game, giving them six walks and the last seven games along with 67 strikeouts. Dragons pitchers issued the fewest number of walks in April of any of the 120 teams in Minor League Baseball (all classifications)…Dragons shortstop Luis Gonzalez turned in arguably the top defensive play of the season to date in the ninth inning. Gonzalez made a leaping catch on a line drive and then, before landing, flipped the ball to second base to complete a double play…The Dragons were 5 for 15 (.333) with runners in scoring position after going 1 for 10 on Thursday in their only loss in the last seven games.