With the Dayton Dragons trailing South Bend 2-1 in the bottom of the fourth inning Wednesday night, Paul Kronenfeld swung and missed a pitch away.
“I told myself I got to hit that pitch and drive it,” Kronenfeld said following a 4-3 Dragons win at Fifth Third Field . “I didn’t miss it that time.”
Kronenfeld took the fastball from Trevor Clifton that was “middle away” this time and deposited it over the concrete wall beyond the right-field fence for a two-run homer to give the Dragons the lead, 3-2.
“It was one of those things,” Kronenfeld said. “They put up some runs, it was huge that we come back and put some up. (Gavin) LaValley had a great at-bat to get on first to make it a two-run shot. Without his at-bat, it might have been totally different.”
LaValley fouling off three full-count pitches before walking to lead off the inning. After back-to-back strikeouts, Kronenfeld gave starter Mark Armstrong the lead for good.
Armstrong improved to 3-1 after working 5 1/3 innings, allowing seven hits while striking out four and walking two. Joe Mantoni and Scott Brattvet allowed one run in setting the table for Conor Krauss to pick up his first save.
“Our starting rotation has been superb,” Dragons manager Jose Nieves said. “They are doing what they need to do. Mark (Armstrong) had the one shaky inning, but the bullpen came in and set the table for the closer.”
The Dragons had chances to break the game open but had two runners picked off second by the catcher and left the bases loaded in the fifth when they scored their final run on four consecutive walks.
“I would have been happier if we had scored more that inning that we had the walks,” Nieves said. “But we squandered some opportunities with some miscues. When you are in scoring position, you don’t have to force yourself. You are only 180 feet from home (at second), you don’t need to be aggressive. But you don’t need to be passive on the opposite hand.”
Kronenfeld went 1-for-3 to extend his hitting streak to six games.
During the streak, the designated hitter is hitting .384, including 4-for-7 in the first two games against South Bend with a two-run homer, a double, three RBIs and a hit by pitch.
Feast or famine: The four runs in Tuesday’s win over South Bend were a welcome sight for the Dragons, who had scored three or fewer in six of their last eight games.
Over that eight game stretch, Dayton went 3-5. Their losses included two by one run in extra innings.
Dayton has won four games when its opponent has scored three or more runs and is 20-4 when scoring at least four runs.
Up next: Dayton looks to sweep the three-game series tonight at 7.