Fort Wayne, Ind.—Three Dayton pitchers combined to allow just one unearned run as the Dragons edged the Fort Wayne TinCaps 2-1 on Saturday night. The win put the Dragons in front, one game to none, in the best-of-three playoff Midwest League Eastern Division Championship Series. The Dragons will need a win Sunday or Monday to advance to the league championship series for the first time in franchise history.
The series moves to Dayton for game two on Sunday night at 7:00 p.m. at Fifth Third Field. If Fort Wayne wins on Sunday, game three would be played in Dayton on Monday at 7:00 p.m.
The Dragons box office at Fifth Third Field will open at noon on Sunday for fans wishing to purchase tickets in person or by phone at (937) 228-2287.
For the third straight night, the Dragons scored in the top of the first inning. Randy Ventura singled to right to start the rally, stole second, and scored on Taylor Trammell’s single to left to give the Dragons a 1-0 lead.
Fort Wayne tied the game in the third with an unearned run. Nate Easley singled to left to start the inning, went to second on a wild pitch, to third on a fly out, and scored on a two-out error by Dragons shortstop Carlos Rivero, who bobbled a ground ball and then threw high to first base to allow Easley to score and tie the game.
The Dragons broke the 1-1 tie in the top of the eighth when Jose Siri singled to left field with one out and Trammell walked to move Siri to second. Bruce Yari hit a ground ball toward the second base bag that was fielded by shortstop Gabriel Arias, who stepped on second and then threw to first to try to complete an inning-ending double play. But Trammell went into second base hard and Arias’ throw went wide of the bag and into the seats, allowing Siri to score and give the Dragons a 2-1 lead.
Dragons starting pitcher Wennington Romero gave the club a very strong outing. He worked six and one-third innings, allowing one unearned run on six hits with no walks and eight strikeouts.
Jesse Stallings replaced Romero in the seventh and recorded the final two outs in the inning, then pitched a scoreless eighth inning. Dauri Moreta entered the game for the ninth and pitched a perfect inning for the save, striking out the last two batters of the game. Stallings was credited with the win.
The Dragons collected eight hits. Siri was 3 for 4 and scored the tie-breaking run. Trammell was 1 for 3 with an RBI and a walk. Michael Beltre had two hits and is 8 for 16 (.500) in the playoffs.
On Sunday, Matt Blandino (4-4, 5.38) will start for the Dragons against Fort Wayne’s Reggie Lawson (4-6, 5.30).
Notes: Dragons pitchers have posted an earned run average of 0.95 in the four playoff games…The Dragons have trailed for only one of the 38 innings played in the post-season to date…Dayton went 7-7 vs. Fort Wayne during the regular season including 6-1 at Fifth Third Field.