Lansing, Mich. (WDTN) —Jason Leblebijian had five hits and drove in six runs to lead the Lansing Lugnuts to an 18-1 victory over the Dayton Dragons on Friday night. The game was the first of a six-game road trip for the Dragons.
The Lugnuts scored two runs in the first inning and then pulled away with five runs in the third, four more in the fourth, and six in the sixth to take a 17-0 lead. The Lugnuts added one more in the eighth before Dayton’s Aristides Aquino hit a solo home run with two outs in the ninth to close out the scoring.
Despite the loss, the Dragons remained two and one-half games out of first place in the Midwest League’s East Division as first place West Michigan lost to South Bend. The Dragons are in a five-way tie for second place with each team holding a second half record of 15-14.
The loss marked the seventh straight road defeat for the Dragons. They have not won a road contest since July 4. They have won 10 of their last 11 home games.
Dragons starting pitcher Junior Morillo (3-5) suffered the loss. He allowed 10 runs (seven earned) in three innings, surrendering 12 hits while walking no one and striking out three.
The Dragons finished with five hits. Aquino and Garrett Boulware each had two.
The Dragons (15-14 in the second half; 54-45 overall) battle the Lugnuts (15-14, 57-42) again on Saturday night at 7:05 in the second game of a three-game series. Tyler Mahle (10-5, 2.54) will start for the Dragons against Lansing’s Jesus Tinoco (2-5, 3.75).
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 18 runs by Lansing was the highest total by a Dragons opponent since Bowling Green scored 18 against the Dragons on August 26, 2013…Dragons first baseman Avain Rachal was ejected from the game in the middle of his at-bat in the top of the first inning. Rachal argued a foul ball call by the plate umpire, saying he had been hit by the pitch…The bottom of the first inning featured a strange moment when umpires ruled a home run on a long drive down the right field line by Lansing lead-off hitter Chris Carlson. Replays appeared to show that the ball hit off the right field fence, approximately seven feet below the line that the ball must clear to be a home run. The ball also appeared to hit just to the right of the right field foul pole. Dragons manager Jose Nieves argued immediately but the call stood. It was the start of difficult night for the Dragons after the club went 5-1 on the homestand that ended with a 13-inning victory on Thursday.