DAYTON, Ohio— The Dayton Dragons broke a 1-1 tie with two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to hold off the Quad Cities River Bandits by a 3-1 margin on Friday night. With the victory, the Dragons assured themselves of taking a fifth straight series from their opponent and have now won 13 of the last 15 games. The game was played in front of a season-high 9,244 fans at Fifth Third Field.
The Dragons improved their record to 24-11 on the season. They remain in sole possession of first place in the Midwest League East Division.
Each team had one chance to take the lead relatively early in the game by putting a runner at third base with less than one out. The Dragons missed their chance by stranding T.J. Friedl at third against Jorge Alcala in the first inning, while Quad Cities put a runner on third against Andrew Jordan in the fifth inning with no outs and failed to cash in.
As a result, there was no score as both pitchers entered the seventh frame. The River Bandits opened the seventh with a single and a walk to put two on with no outs. Jordan coaxed a fly ball to shallow center field off the bat of Ray Henderson for the first out. A wild pitch with Taylor Jones at the plate, moved both runners into scoring position. Jones hit a groundball to shortstop Hector Vargas who fired home and got the out at the plate. The Dragons handed the ball to Andy Cox with runners on the corners and two outs. His first pitch to Daz Cameron was lined into the left field corner for an RBI double that gave Quad Cities a 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the same inning, Jose Siri beat out an infield single to open the frame. He then proceeded to steal both second and third base, which gave Tyler Stephenson a prime opportunity to tie the game. The catcher did just that, lifting a sacrifice fly to right field that evened the score.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Luis Gonzalez singled off of Lucas Williams on the first pitch he saw to ignite the offense. After Vargas popped out, both Michael Beltre and Friedl worked walks to load the bases. Siri waited back on an 0-2 breaking ball and lined a base hit into center field to break the tie and then a sacrifice fly off the bat of Taylor Trammell extended the advantage to 3-1.
Brian Hunter retired the side in order in the ninth to pick up his first save of the season.
Jordan, the starter, was stellar, allowing just one run on three hits over 6.2 innings. Cox, Aaron Fossas, and Hunter combined to throw 2.1 scoreless innings out of the bullpen.
The Dragons finished with four hits. Siri was the only player with multiple hits for the Dragons, while Gonzalez extended his hitting streak to seven games.
The Dragons host the River Bandits (16-17) in the final game of the series on Saturday at 7:07 p.m. Tony Santillan (2-2, 3.55) will start for the Dragons against Quad Cities’ Ryan Hartman (3-1, 3.51).