The Dayton Dragons had plenty of chances to put runs on the board in the series finale against the Burlington Bees on Saturday night.
The big hit Dayton needed never came.
The Dragons went 1-for-11 with runners-in-scoring position and couldn’t capitalize on five Burlington errors, falling to the Bees 4-1 in front of 8,297 fans on Saturday night at Fifth Third Field.
“It was a part of the game that cost us,” said Dayton manager Luis Bolivar. “We’ve been struggling this month. I know these guys can hit, we’re just in a slump. We’ve got to keep grinding it out and see what happens.”
The Dragons finished their six-game homestand with a 2-4 record, losing three straight to Burlington after taking two of three from Clinton. Dayton is 12-23 on the season, 8.5 games back of Great Lakes in the Midwest League Eastern Division.
Dragons starter Lyon Richardson pitched into the fifth inning, allowing one earned run on four hits with a career-high seven strikeouts. In his last two appearances, Richardson, a second round pick by the Cincinnati Reds in 2018, has lowered his earned run average from 7.08 to 4.99.
“The pitching did a really great job,” Bolivar said. “Lyon did a great job. He was attacking, he was aggressive and he gave us a chance. (Eduardo Salazar) did a great job, too. All of those guys did a great job keeping the game close.”
The Bees took the lead in the fifth inning on an RBI single by center fielder Jordyn Adams, a 2018 first round pick by the Anaheim Angels. With runners on first and third and one out, right hander Eduardo Salazar entered the game and pitched the Dragons out of the jam with a strikeout and a flyball out.
The Dragons were held without a hit until the fifth inning. With one out, Dayton’s Juan Martinez and Carlos Rivero hit back-to-back singles and advanced to second and third on an error by Bees left fielder Spencer Griffin, but Shard Munroe struck out and Dylan Harris popped out to end the inning.
The Dragons ended a 13-inning scoreless streak in the sixth inning. Mariel Bautista advanced to second base on a dropped fly ball by Adams and scored on a double off the wall by Pabel Manzanero to make it 3-1.
Dayton threatened again in the seventh inning. Rivero and Shard Munroe hit back-to-back singles with one out and Rivero advanced to third on a throwing error by Bees catcher Harrison Wenson. The Dragons next batter Dylan Harris struck out and Munroe was thrown at second base to end the inning.
Burlington added an insurance run in the ninth inning on a single by Gleyvin Pineda.
With one out in the ninth inning, Hernandez walked and Martinez reached on catcher’s interference to bring the tying run to the plate. But Bees closer Connor Higgins struck out Rivero and Munroe to claim the victory.
“We had our chances, we just didn’t take advantage of the situation,” Bolivar said. “Moving forward, hopefully the guys wake up. Hitting is contagious. Once one guy gets hot, I’m sure everybody will get hot. I think that will come soon.”
The Dragons have the day off Sunday before departing for a seven-game road trip that includes three games at Great Lakes and four games at South Bend. They’ll return for a four-day homestand on May 20 against Lake County, which will include the completion of a suspended game on May 21. They’ll finish a suspended game from April 14.
Outfielder Michael Siani is expected to return to the lineup on the road trip after injuring his shoulder making a diving grab at the wall on May 6.
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