Dragons Homer Twice, Win 8-5
Dayton, Ohio—Garrett Boulware hit a three-run home run and Luis Gonzalez added a two-run shot to lead the Dayton Dragons to an 8-5 win over the West Michigan Whitecaps on Friday night. A crowd of 8,062 attended the game at Fifth Third Field as the Dragons snapped a five-game losing streak.
After struggling to score runs on their road trip that ended Thursday night, the Dragons came out hitting on Friday. They matched a season high with 12 hits including 10 over the first three innings. They built an 8-1 lead over the first four innings, increasing their home run total for the year from two to four.
The Dragons took the lead in the first when Brian O’Grady singled, stole second, and scored on Gavin LaValley’s double to the fence in center. In the second, the Dragons extended their lead to 3-0. Boulware started the inning with a line drive hit to left, and one batter later, Gonzalez drilled a home run to left to give the Dragons a three-run lead. It was Gonzalez’s first homer of the year.
After West Michigan scored a single run in the top of the third, the Dragons answered with three in the bottom of the inning. Ronald Bueno and Jimmy Pickens each singled to start the inning, and Boulware then launched a long home run to left field to make it 6-1. It was Boulware’s first homer of the year.
The Dragons added two more in the fourth on a two-out, two-run triple by Avain Rachal to make it 8-1. West Michigan scored one in the fifth, two in the seventh, and one in the ninth to close out the scoring.
Dragons starting pitcher Seth Varner (3-0) worked the first six innings, allowing 12 hits but only two runs with no walks and five strikeouts to earn the win. Varner has not walked a batter in 17 innings this season while striking out 17.
The Dragons 12-hit attack included a three-hit night for Jimmy Pickens. Pickens has gone 5 for 7 over the last two nights to raise his batting average from .171 to .250. Boulware, Gonzalez, and O’Grady each had two hits. O’Grady stole two bases and is 7 for 7 on the year as a base stealer.
West Michigan collected 17 hits in the game, but Dragons pitchers did not walk a batter, and the Dragons did not commit an error.
Dragons right fielder Aristides Aquino left the game in the third inning, two innings after he was hit by a pitch, apparently in the hand or wrist. The injury forced the Dragons to place infielder Ronald Bueno in left field, marking his first game in the outfield over his six-year professional career.
The Dragons (7-9) host the Whitecaps (8-8) in the second game of the series on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. at Fifth Third Field. Mark Armstrong (0-1, 3.75) will pitch for the Dragons against West Michigan’s Trent Szkutnik (1-0, 3.75).