Midland, Mich. (WDTN) —The Great Lakes Loons collected three straight hits with two outs in the bottom of the 11th inning to break a 1-1 tie and bring home the winning run as they defeated the Dayton Dragons 2-1 on Wednesday afternoon. The loss snapped the Dragons three-game winning streak and dropped them into a tie for second place in the East Division of the Midwest League, two games out of first.
The Dragons scored in the top of the first inning and Great Lakes tied the game at 1-1 in the second. There was no further scoring until the 11th, when the Loons’ Alex Santana started the game-winning rally with a single to right field. Josmar Cordero followed with a ground ball through the hole in the right side of the Dayton infield to move Santana around to third. Wolfe then connected on a line drive toward left-center field. Dragons center fielder Nick Benedetto sprinted to his right and made a fully-horizontal, all-out diving attempt to make a game-saving catch. Benedetto nearly made the defensive play of the season, he could not maintain control of the baseball as he hit the ground. Santana scored easily from third to end the game.
Dragons starting pitcher Tyler Mahle went eight strong innings, the longest start by a Dayton hurler since Enerio Del Rosario went nine innings in a start in 2008. Mahle allowed six hits and one run with no walks and six strikeouts. The only run against Mahle was a second inning solo home run by Jacob Scavuzzo.
The Dragons only run came in the first inning. Ty Washington opened the game with a walk, stole second, went to third on Ronald Bueno’s sacrifice, and scored on Gavin LaValley’s double off the left field fence.
The Dragons had chances to score in the second and fifth innings. In the second, Jimmy Pickens was at first base with one out when Luis Gonzalez doubled to the left field corner. Pickens rounded third, then attempted to return to the base as the throw came in behind him. Pickens was tagged out on a close play for the second out of the inning, and Benedetto struck out to end the threat. In the fifth, Pickens doubled to right to lead off the inning and went to third on Gonzalez’s sacrifice. But Benedetto struck out and Washington flied out to center to end the inning.
Dragons reliever Jake Ehret (0-1) was charged with the loss. He worked two and two-thirds innings, allowing four hits and one run with one strikeout. The combination of Mahle and Ehret did not issue a walk in the game.
The game marked the first time in 2015 in which the Dragons scored the first run of the game before losing. They were 11-0 when scoring first entering Wednesday’s game.
The Dragons had only five hits in the game. Jonathan Reynoso’s nine-game hitting streak came to an end as he went 0 for 3. Brian O’Grady was 1 for 4 to extend his hitting streak to seven straight games.
The Dragons fell to 18-15 on the season with the loss. They are tied with Lake County for second place in the East. The winner of tonight’s Lansing-South Bend game will also move into a tie for second.
The Draogns-Loons series will conclude on Thursday at 10:35 a.m. Wyatt Strahan (3-1, 2.35) will pitch for the Dragons against Great Lakes’ Brock Stewart (1-2, 3.00). The Dragons open a three-game series at Lake County on Friday. The next home game is Monday, May 18 vs. Great Lakes at Fifth Third Field.
All Dragons games are broadcast on radio on Fox Sports 980 WONE and on the internet at wone.com. Games are also available on the Dayton Dragons mobile app.
Notes: The game was the second extra-inning contest in the last seven games for the Dragons after they had gone the first 26 games without an extra inning game. They beat Fort Wayne in 11 innings on May 6…Despite the two additional innings, the game was still played in two hours, 38 minutes. The Dragons and Loons played Monday’s game in one hour, 55 minutes, the quickest nine-inning game for the Dragons since 2012.