Cedar Rapids, Iowa—Cory Thompson blasted two home runs and drove in four runs while Avain Rachal collected four hits including a home run to lead the Dayton Dragons to an 8-3 victory over the Cedar Rapids Kernels on Wednesday night. The two clubs have split the first two games of the three-game series.
The win gave the Dragons a much needed road victory. They had lost 12 of their previous road games including Tuesday’s night’s series opener in Cedar Rapids, but they jumped out to a big league and rolled on to the win.
Dragons starting pitcher Jake Paulson (5-3) won for the third time in his last four starts. He tossed six innings, allowing three runs on four hits with one walk and one strikeout. Left-hander Mike Sullivan followed Paulson with two scoreless innings, striking out four without issuing a walk. He allowed two hits. Conor Krauss pitched the ninth inning, allowing no runs on one hit with a strikeout.
The Dragons enjoyed one of their biggest road innings of the season when they scored five runs in the second, hitting two home runs in the frame. Rachal blasted a solo home run to left field with one out to get the scoring started. After a pair of base hits by Jimmy Pickens and Jonathan Reynoso, Chadwick Tromp delivered a two-out, run-scoring single through the middle to make it 2-0. Thompson followed with a long home run to left field with Reynoso and Tromp on base to make it 5-0.
The Dragons added another run in the third when Rachal singled with one out to bring in Gavin LaValley from third base to make it 6-0, but Cedar Rapids responded with three runs in the fourth to cut the deficit in half at 6-3.
Paulson, Sullivan, and Krauss combined to shut the Kernels out on four hits over the final five innings. The Dragons added a run in the eighth on back-to-back doubles by LaValley and Aristides Aquino, and Thompson launched a solo homer in the ninth to close out the scoring.
The Dragons finished with 13 hits. Thompson gave the Dragons their third two-homer performance (Brian O’Grady did it twice in eight days in June). Rachal went 4 for 4, collecting his first four-hit game of the season and the seventh for the Dragons. Tromp had two hits to raise his batting average to .295.
The Dragons (18-21 in the second half; 57-52 overall) battle the Kernels (22-16, 63-45) in the final game of the three-game series on Thursday at 7:35 p.m. (EDT). Junior Morillo (3-6, 6.12) will start for Dayton against Cedar Rapids’ Zack Tillery (5-4, 3.28). The next Dragons home game is Tuesday, August 11 vs. the Peoria Chiefs.
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 eight runs marked the highest total in a road game for the Dragons since June 5 when they scored 17 at Clinton.