The Great Lakes Loons scored four runs in the ninth inning to overcome a 7-4 deficit and defeat the Dayton Dragons 8-7 on Tuesday night. A crowd of 7,891 attended the game at Fifth Third Field.
The Dragons led 6-2 after five innings and took a three-run lead to the ninth, only to see the Loons get hits from five of their first six hitters in the final inning. It was the first time all season that the Dragons lost a game that they had led by more than two runs at any time during the game.
The Loons collected three straight hits to start the ninth against Dragons reliever Conor Krauss, who was replaced by Brian Hunter with one out, runners at first and second, and the Dragons leading 7-5. Hunter surrendered a run-scoring single to Matt Beaty to make it 7-6, and Kyle Garlick followed with a double to the fence in left to bring in two more runs and give Great Lakes an 8-7 lead. The Dragons were retired in order in the bottom of the ninth by Loons reliever James Campbell.
The Dragons built their early lead by taking advantage of wildness from Loons starting pitcher Matt Shelton, who was unable to throw his knuckleball for strikes. Shelton walked five batters in the second inning, including three with the bases loaded, as the Dragons scored five runs in the frame to take a 5-2 lead. Narciso Crook’s run-scoring single in the third made it 6-2.
The Loons started back when Julian Leon hit a two-run home run in the sixth to make it 6-4, but the Dragons answered on Ronald Bueno’s run-scoring single in the eighth to build the lead to 7-4.
Dragons starting pitcher Mark Armstrong came off the disabled list prior to the game and worked five innings, allowing two runs on seven hits with no walks and two strikeouts. Hunter (5-3) was charged with the loss.
The Dragons collected 10 hits. Crook, Jonathan Reynoso, and Argenis Aldazoro each had two. Bueno’s hit extended his hitting streak to 10 straight games.
The Dragons and Loons close out the three-game series on Wednesday at Fifth Third Field. Wyatt Strahan (5-5, 3.07) will start for the Dragons against Great Lakes’ Trevor Oaks (3-5, 2.75).
Notes: The Midwest League has notified the Dragons that the protest filed by the Lake County Captains after the Dragons-Captains game on Sunday, June 21 has been denied. The Dragons 11-inning victory in the game that day will stand. The protest was filed regarding the umpire’s decision on the final play of the game, a game-winning hit by Jose Ortiz that scored Gavin LaValley. The Captains argued that a force out should have been called at second base on the play.