Dragons off to best start in 11 years

Dayton Dragons outfielder Brian Rey celebrates after hitting a two-RBI double against the Bowling Green Hot Rods during the 2019 season.
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY MICHAEL COOPER

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Dayton Dragons outfielder Brian Rey celebrates after hitting a two-RBI double against the Bowling Green Hot Rods during the 2019 season. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY MICHAEL COOPER

Brian Rey hit two home runs and Miguel Hernandez delivered a go-ahed two-run double as the Dayton Dragons battled back from a three-run deficit to defeat the Great Lakes Loons 6-5 on Saturday night in Midland, Mich.

The Dragons 4-1 record after five games marks their best start to a season since they won their first five in 2010 under manager Todd Benzinger.

Rey hit the second pitch of the game for a home run to left field. Rey added another solo home run in the seventh, his fourth homer in four games. No Central League club other than the Dragons began Saturday’s action with more than three home runs as a team.

The Dragons took a 6-4 lead to the bottom of the ninth inning and seemed to be poised to win when reliever Johnnie Schneider struck out the first two batters of the inning. But Schneider walked the next four batters as the Loons pulled to within a run at 6-5 with the bases loaded. Schneider then induced a game-inning groundout from Deacon Liput.

Great Lakes scored four runs in the second inning to take a 4-1 lead and held that lead until the Dragons put together a big inning in the sixth. 

After Quincy McAfee walked with one out, Jose Tello ripped a double to right-center field to drive in McAfee and make it 4-2. James Free followed with a double off the left field fence to score Tello and pull the Dragons to within one run.  Jonathan Willems walked, and after Mariel Bautista flied to left for the second out, Hernandez ripped a two-run double to left to give the Dragons a 5-4 lead. Rey’s homer in the seventh made it 6-4 and proved to be an important insurance run.

Dragons relief pitcher Spencer Stockton entered the game with two outs in the second inning and worked 4 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing just two hits with one walk and three strikeouts for the win. Schneider earned the save.

The Dragons and Loons close out the six-game series on Sunday afternoon at 1:05 p.m..  Lyon Richardson, who tossed three scoreless innings in the season opener on Tuesday, will start for the Dragons against Bobby Miller.