DAYTON, Ohio – West Michigan’s Shane Zeile hit a home run and drove in four runs to lead the Whitecaps to a 9-1 victory over the Dayton Dragons on Thursday night at Fifth Third Field. The game was the start to a four-game series between the clubs in Dayton.
Zeile, the nephew of longtime Major League player Todd Zeile, blasted a two-run home run to center field with two outs in the third inning to cap a three-run frame and give the Whitecaps a 4-0 lead. West Michigan added three more runs in the fourth to lead 7-0.
The Dragons scored their only run in the eighth when Cory Thompson singled with one out and eventually scored on an error after an infield single by Mitch Piatnik.
Dayton finished with seven hits, six of which came in the final three innings. James Vasquez was 2 for 4 with a triple that missed by inches of leaving the ballpark for a home run. Shane Mardirosian also had two hits including a triple.
West Michigan starting pitcher Spenser Watkins (1-0) fired six scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out nine to earn the win.
Dragons starting pitcher Jose Lopez (0-1) worked the first three and one-third innings, allowing six runs on seven hits with one walk and four strikeouts to suffer the loss.
The Dragons (1-7) host West Michigan Whitecaps (3-4) on Friday in the second game of the series at 7:00 p.m. at Fifth Third Field. Franderlyn Romero (0-0, 5.06) will start for the Dragons against West Michigan’s Fernando Perez (0-0, 0.00).