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High: 36 ...
Dragons Close in on Wild Card Berth
EASTLAKE — Dayton starting pitcher Nick Travieso allowed just one hit over six strong innings and the Dragons pounded out 16 hits as they defeated the Lake County Captains 11-1 on Saturday night. The game was the first of a three-game series.
The win provided a boost to the Dragons playoff chances. They began the day one-half game behind the wildcard leader, Great Lakes, who lost to West Michigan 1-0, allowing the Dragons to move ahead of Great Lakes in the race with two games to play. The Dragons also began the day tied with Lansing in the race (with Lansing holding the tie-breaker). Lansing waited out a rain delay but as of this posting, Lansing trailed South Bend 5-1 in the eighth inning.
Travieso walked one and struck out five, allowing only a second inning double over his six innings. Travieso’s win, his 14th of the year, clinches the Midwest League victory title for the Dayton starting pitcher. His single-season victory total is tied the second highest total in franchise history, just one short of the club record. Travieso extended his franchise-record career victory total to 21.
The Dragons scored two runs in the top of the first inning and added four more in the second to take an early 6-0 lead. Alex Blandino drilled the first pitch of the game off the left field fence to get the Dragons started, and he later scored on Phillip Ervin’s run-scoring single. Ervin eventually scored on Tanner Rahier’s sacrifice fly to make it 2-0. In the second, Nick Bendetto hammered a double to left field to bring in Jose Ortiz from second with one out, and Ronald Bueno drove in Benedetto with a double to right. Ervin followed with a line drive two-run home run to left to make it 6-0. It was Ervin’s sixth homer of the year.
Lake County scored one run in the second before Travieso put together a string where he retired 12 consecutive batters. Dayton’s Robert Ramirez belted a solo home run to lead off the seventh, and four batters later, Benedetto blasted a three-run home run to left to make it 10-1. Jon Matthews collected his third hit of the night to drive in a run in the eighth and close out the scoring.
The Dragons 16 hits represented their second highest total of the season, and the 11 runs marked their biggest night since they scored 13 runs on May 16. Benedetto had a homer, double, and single while driving in four runs. Ervin had two hits and drove in three. Blandino, Bueno, Ramirez, and Ortiz each had two hits. Ramirez has hit three home runs in his last four games. The Dragons (31-37) battle the Captains (37-30) in the second game of the series on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Jackson Stephens (2-6, 4.10) will start for the Dragons against Lake County’s Luis Lugo (9-9, 5.16).
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