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Back-to-back home runs power Dragons

Jose Garcia and Reshard Munroe hit back-to-back home runs as part of a four-run fifth inning as the Dayton Dragons defeated the host West Michigan Whitecaps 5-3 on Sunday afternoon. The two teams have split the first two games of the three-game series.

The Dragons took a 5-3 lead to the bottom of the ninth inning and held on for the win. John Ghyzel retired the first two batters before issuing a two-out walk and a single to leave runners at first and third. Ryan Nutof replaced Ghyzel and got a ground out to third baseman Jonathan India to end the game as Nutof picked up his fourth save.

The Dragons trailed 2-1 after four innings before Lorenzo Cedrola looped a single with two outs in the fifth to start the rally. Garcia followed with a line drive home run to left field, his third homer of the year, to give the Dragons a 3-2 lead. Reshard Munroe then blasted a home run to right to make it 4-2. Munroe’s homer was his first with the Dragons. Andy Sugilio then tripled to right-center field and scored on a wild pitch to make it 5-2. All four runs scored in the inning after two men were out.

The Dragons bullpen had an outstanding day. Reliever Miguel Aguilar entered the game with a 5-3 lead and runners at first and second in the fifth, and he stranded both runners to end the threat. Aguilar (4-1) was credited with the win, going two and two-thirds innings without allowing a hit. The only man to reach against came on an error. Brian Hunter pitched a perfect eighth inning before Ghyzel and Nutof pitched the ninth.

Dragons starting pitcher Jared Solomon made his Midwest League debut after posting an outstanding 2.27 ERA in nine starts at Billings. Solomon pitched well early in his outing and did not a run until the fourth. He left the game after four and one-third innings, allowing three runs on six hits with two walks and three strikeouts.

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The Dragons finished the day with nine hits. Lopez had two to extend his hitting streak to nine straight games. Sugilio also had two hits.

The win snapped the Dragons three-game losing streak. They are 2-3 on their four-city, 13-game road trip.

In the Standings: The Dragons improved to 20-23 in the second half. They are tied with Fort Wayne for the wildcard slot (No. 2 seed) in the Midwest League’s East Division second half playoff chase (pending the result of Fort Wayne’s Sunday game vs. Lansing). There are 27 games to play.

Up Next: The Dragons meet the Whitecaps (21-21) in the rubber match of the three-game series on Monday night at 7:05 p.m. Packy Naughton (5-9, 4.66) will start for Dayton against West Michigan’s Dane Myers (3-3, 3.48).

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