Dragons shut-out at West Michigan

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – West Michigan pitchers Jeff Thompson and Gabe Hemmer combined on a five-hit shutout as the Whitecaps topped the Dayton Dragons 5-0 on Sunday.

The performance by Thompson and Hemmer came one day after the Dragons exploded for 14 runs including 10 in one inning on Saturday night. The Dragons will need a win in the series finale on Monday afternoon to earn a split of the four-game set.

West Michigan scored an unearned run in the first inning to take an early 1-0 lead. The Dragons had a chance to tie the game or take the lead in the fourth, getting one-out singles by Jose Ortiz and Narciso Crook and a walk to Gavin LaValley to load the bases. But Jonathan Reynoso grounded to third base into an inning-ending double play to end the threat.

West Michigan responded with a four-run bottom of the fourth. Zach Shepherd delivered a two-run double with one out and the bases loaded to make it 3-0. Austin Schotts followed with an RBI single, and Garrett Mattlage brought in a run on a safety squeeze play to extend the lead to 5-0. The Dragons collected only two more hits the rest of the afternoon.

Dragons starting pitcher Wyatt Strahan (4-3) suffered the loss. He worked six innings and allowed six hits and five runs (four earned) with one walk and five strikeouts. Jeremy Kivel replaced Strahan to start the seventh and worked two scoreless innings, allowing one hit and two walks with one strikeout.

All five Dragons hits were singles. LaValley was 2 for 3. Reynoso, Ortiz, and Crook each had one hit.

The Dragons fell to 23-21 with the loss. They began the day in third place, two games out of first.

The Dragons battle the Whitecaps in the last game of the series on Monday at 1:00 p.m. Tejay Antone (3-3, 1.98) will start for Dayton against West Michigan’s Spencer Turnbull (3-1, 3.21).

The next home game for the Dragons is Tuesday, May 26 when they host the South Bend Cubs at 7:00 p.m. at Fifth Third Field. The game will mark the start of a seven-game homestand for the Dragons.

Notes: Dayton’s Brian O’Grady was 0 for 4 as his 16-game hitting streak came to an end. O’Grady tied for the fourth longest hitting streak in franchise history, four short of the club record.

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