South Bend, IN – Dayton starting pitcher Jake Paulson fired eight commanding innings and Narciso Crook drove in five runs to lead the Dragons to a 10-1 win over the South Bend Cubs on Wednesday. The game left the Dragons needing one more victory in their five remaining contests to clinch a winning record for the season.
Paulson and reliever Jacob Moody, who pitched the ninth inning, combined to allow only three balls to leave the infield over the course of the night—all on hits. Dragons outfielders did not record a putout in the game. Paulson (8-5) allowed one run over his eight innings, surrendering five hits and one walk with three strikeouts. Paulson got 19 ground outs in his outing.
South Bend scored in the first inning to take a 1-0 lead, but the Dragons tied the game in the second. Aristides Aquino walked, went to second on Garrett Boulware’ single, stole third, and scored on Crook’s fielder’s choice ground out to make it 1-1.
The Dragons took a 2-1 lead in the third when Shed Long doubled to the left field fence and scored on a two-out liner through the middle by Gavin LaValley. The Dragons added three more runs in the sixth, keyed by Crook’s two-run triple followed by an RBI single by Cory Thompson, to make it 5-1. Crook added a two-run single in the seventh as the Dragons extended their lead to 7-1, and Dayton added three more in the eighth. LaValley had a two-run single, and Aquino drove in a run with a base hit to close out the scoring.
The Dragons finished with 14 hits. Paul Kronenfeld had three hits including two doubles and a single. Crook, LaValley, Aquino, Long, and Thompson each had two hits. Crook’s five RBI matched the team’s season-high. LaValley drove in three runs.
The Dragons (30-34 in the second half; 69-65 overall) will battle the Cubs (33-32, 62-70) in the second game of the series on Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. Ty Boyles (0-1, 6.55) will start for Dayton against South Bend’s Jake Stinnett (6-6, 4.32). The series in South Bend will conclude Friday at 7:35 p.m.
The Dragons will close out the season with a three-game series at Fifth Third Field in Dayton starting Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. against the Lansing Lugnuts. The series will also include a pair of 2:00 p.m. games on Sunday and Monday.
Notes: The Dragons reached double-figures in runs for the first time since they scored 10 runs against Lansing on July 12…Paulson lowered his ERA to 2.60, third best in the league, with one start remaining. Dayton’s Tyler Mahle leads the league.