Captains lose 11th inning heartbreaker
DAYTON- The Dayton Dragons (25-35) used a late rally to walk-off in the eleventh inning against the Lake County Captains (28-31) on Thursday night. The loss dropped the Captains 3.5 games out of the wild-card spot with nine games left.
Lake County drew first blood in the first inning off of Dragons’ starter Stalin Gerson. Centerfielder Luigi Rodriguez laced a leadoff triple to right field. Shortstop Francisco Lindor singled to plate Rodriguez for the first run of the game.
The Captains made it a 3-0 game in the second inning with two more runs. Second baseman Todd Hankins lined the second triple in as many innings to right field. Third baseman Leonardo Castillo grounded out to the shortstop, scoring Hankins in the process. Left fielder Zach MacPhee hit his first professional homerun, a solo shot to right field.
Lefthander Shawn Morimando faced the minimum through three innings but ran into trouble in the fourth inning. Shortstop Brandon Dailey walked and advanced to second on a botched pickoff attempt. Morimando attempted to pickoff Dailey, first baseman Jerrud Sabourin missed the catch, allowing the runner to advance. Centerfielder Kurtis Muller was hit by a pitch. A double play by designated hitter Joe Terry erased Muller but advanced Dailey to third. Left fielder Steve Selsky brought home Dailey with an infield single to second.
Both starters exited the game after five innings and received no decisions for their work.
Gerson relinquished three runs on five hits. He allowed two walks and struck out three batters. Cole Green relieved Gerson with three shutout innings. Green allowed one hit, one walk and struck out three.
Morimando pitched extremely well. He gave up one run on three hits. He allowed one walk and had one strikeout. Luis DeJesus replaced Morimando in the sixth inning. DeJesus allowed one out on five hits in three innings of work. He walked one and struck out four Dragons.
DeJesus worked out of a two on, one out situation in the sixth inning. He surrendered back to back doubles to start the seventh. First baseman Sean Buckley plated right fielder Kyle Waldrop to make it 3-2 Lake County. Dayton’s shot at tying the game was vanished when catcher Alex Monsalve tagged Buckley out at the dish on a single.
Carlos Contreras followed Green to the mound in the ninth inning. Lake County loaded the bases with two hits and a walk but could not muster a run for the second night in a row. Contreras threw two scoreless innings, giving up two hits and one walk.
Captains closer Jeff Johnson came in to close the ballgame out. He was unable to convert his 11th save. Buckley doubled to leadoff the inning. Catcher Nick O’Shea hit an infield single to short. Third baseman Junior Arias attempted a sacrifice bunt but was called out for interference. Dailey grounded into a force out at second, allowing Buckley to tie the ballgame at 3. Muller had the winning run at first base but he lined out to end the inning.
Johnson blew his fourth save of the year, allowing one run on two hits in one inning. Rob Nixon (1-1, 3.77) came on in the tenth inning.
Nixon threw a perfect tenth inning before the Dragons walked off in the eleventh inning. Waldrop singled and moved to second on a groundout. Nixon surrendered back to back walks to load the bases. Muller singled home Waldrop for his ninth RBI of the year and to seal the Dragons comeback win.
Nixon took the loss, surrendering the winning run on two hits in 1.2 innings. He walked two and struck out three.
James Allen (2-2, 4.46) pitched a scoreless eleventh to pick up his second win of the year.
The Captains had eight hits on the night. Luigi Rodriguez led the way with a 3-5 game. Zach MacPhee added two more hits, including his first homerun.
The Captains will attempt to avoid the sweep on Friday night at Fifth Third Field. Lake County will send RHP Felix Sterling (2-5, 5.86 ERA) to face RHP Jacob Johnson (0-1, 2.52 ERA) for the Dragons. First pitch is set for 7:05 PM.
Tyler, a sports management student at Lake Erie College, can be found on Twitter @tstotsky63.