MIDLAND, Mich.—The Dayton Dragons battled back from a 3-0 deficit to defeat the Great Lakes Loons 6-3 in the first game of a three-game series on Thursday. The win was the Dragons sixth straight and improved their record on the year to 6-2. The Dragons began the night tied with Lansing for first place in the Midwest League East Division.
The Dragons trailed 3-2 as they came to bat in the top of the eighth inning. T.J. Friedl walked to start the inning and went to second on a wild pitch. Jose Siri singled to right to move Friedl to third, and Friedl scored to tie the game on a wild pick-off throw to first. Taylor Trammell walked and Tyler Stephenson was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no one out. James Vasquez delivered a sacrifice fly to bring in Siri and give the Dragons a 4-3 lead. John Sansone then grounded to shortstop as Stephenson was forced at second, but the return throw to first was low and bounced away, allowing Trammell to score to make it 5-3.
The Dragons added another run in the top of the ninth when Siri singled and scored from first on Trammell’s double.
Great Lakes got the scoring started in the second inning on back-to-back doubles by Gage Green and Moises Perez. They added two more runs in the fifth, taking advantage of a throwing error by Dragons shortstop Hector Vargas.
The Dragons pulled to within a run in the top of the seventh inning, scoring twice. John Sansone doubled to deep left with two outs and Brantley Bell walked. Vargas then hit a slow ground ball toward third that was fielded by Perez, who threw wildly to first. Sansone and Bell both scored as Vargas raced all the way to third as the Dragons made it a 3-2 game. Michael Beltre flied out to deep left to end the inning, stranding the tying run at third.
Dragons starting pitcher Wennington Romero worked the first four and one-third innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits with one walk and five strikeouts. Aaron Fossas replaced Romero in the five and worked out of jam, stranding three. Fossas pitched two and one-third innings, allowing two hits with two walks and a strikeout. Andy Cox replaced Fossas with runners at second and third and two outs in the bottom of the seventh and struck out Great Lakes cleanup hitter Cody Thomas on three pitches to end the threat. Cox struck out two batters in a scoreless eighth inning. Ryan Hendrix struck out the side in order in the bottom of the ninth to close out the Dragons win.
Cox (1-0) was credited with the win, striking out three over one and one-third innings. Hendrix earned his first save. The Dragons bullpen combined for four and two-thirds scoreless innings, allowing just two hits while striking out six.
The Dragons finished with seven hits, but as they have during the winning streak, they delivered with situational hitting. Only one of the six Dayton runs came as a result of a hit. Friedl and Trammell each had two hits and a walk. Siri also had two hits.
The Dragons (6-2) battle the Loons (2-6) in the second game of the series on Friday at 6:05 p.m. in Midland. Ryan Olson (1-0, 0.00), who fired seven scoreless innings in his first outing on Sunday, will start for the Dragons against Great Lakes’ Devin Smeltzer (0-0, 9.00).