EASTLAKE, OH – The Dayton Dragons (31-37, 67-69) hammered out 16 hits and 11 runs to keep the race for the second wildcard spot alive as they defeated the Lake County Captains (37-29, 64-72) 11-1 on Saturday night. The Captains lost back-to-back games for the first time since August 2nd-August 4th when the Captains dropped three-straight games.
Dayton jumped out in front before the Captains came to bat. Second baseman Alex Blandino opened the game with a double and a sacrifice bunt moved him ninety feet from home plate. Right fielder Phil Ervin singled him home for the first run. First baseman Robert Ramirez singled and advanced Ervin to third. Third baseman Tanner Rahier plated Ervin with a sacrifice fly to center field. Dayton led 2-0 after a half inning.
The Dragons put a four spot on the board in the second inning on four hits against Dace Kime. Center fielder Nick Benedetto and second baseman Ronald Bueno plated runs with RBI doubles. Ervin added his sixth homer, a two-run homerun in the inning to make it a 6-0 lead.
Lake County got a run in the bottom of the second inning to cut the lead to five runs. First baseman Mike Papi coaxed a one-out walk off Dragons’ starter Nick Travieso. Papi stole second base and crossed the plate on a two-out RBI double by right fielder Brian Ruiz.
Kime fell to 7-14 after he struggled across three innings of work. His final line: seven hits, six earned runs, two walks and two strikeouts. Luis Dejesus entered for the fourth inning.
Another four-run inning in the seventh put the Dragons up by nine. Ramirez led off with his sixth homerun of the year, a solo shot to right. A single and a double put two runners in scoring position. Captains’ manager Mark Budzinski hooked Dejesus and brought in Alexis Paredes. The second batter Paredes faced, Benedetto launched a three-run homerun to the bleachers in left field. Dayton held a 10-1 lead at the stretch.
Dejesus was charged with three runs allowed on six hits in three and one third innings of relief with three strikeouts.
Travieso won his Midwest League-leading 14th decision. He allowed one run on one hit across six innings. Travieso has made three starts this year where he has allowed only one hit. He walked one and fanned five. Nolan Becker pitched the seventh inning.
After being held to one hit across the first six innings, the Captains managed two singles in the seventh off of Becker but could not muster a run.
Ervin was hit a pitch from Paredes in the eighth inning. A wild pitch and a groundout put Ervin on third base with two outs. Left fielder Jon Matthews lined a single up the middle to plate Ervin. Dayton led 11-1.
Paredes surrendered two runs on three hits in two and two thirds innings. He struck out four batters and also hit a batter.
Evan Mitchell and Alejandro Chacin pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth inning, respectively for the Dragons.
Lake County only managed four hits in the game. Ruiz led the way with two hits including a double. Left fielder Dorssys Paulino and Frazier each singled.
The Captains and Dragons will participate in the penultimate regular season game on Sunday. LHP Luis Lugo (9-9, 5.32) will get the start for Lake County versus RHP Jackson Stephens (2-6, 4.10) for the Dragons. First pitch is at 1:30 PM from Eastlake.