Dayton Dragons fall to Lake County

Dayton's Jonathan Willems attempts to steal second base in a game last week against Lansing. An experimental rule in High-A leagues eliminating certain pickoff moves is meant to increase base stealing. Jeff Gilbert/CONTRIBUTED
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Dayton's Jonathan Willems attempts to steal second base in a game last week against Lansing. An experimental rule in High-A leagues eliminating certain pickoff moves is meant to increase base stealing. Jeff Gilbert/CONTRIBUTED

The Lake County Captains hit five home runs, including two by Jonathan Rodriguez, on the way to defeating the Dayton Dragons 9-8 on Thursday night.

The Dragons jumped out to a quick lead, scoring three runs before the first out of the night was recorded. Jacob Hurtubise opened the game with a single to right and Matt McLain followed with an infield hit. Ivan Johnson then connected on a three-run home run to right field to give Dayton a 3-0 lead.

But Lake County scored one run in the second and three in the fourth to take a 4-3 lead. The Dragons tied the game in the top of the fifth on a solo home run by Allan Cerda, but Lake County scored two runs in the bottom of the fifth to retake the lead, 6-4.

The Dragons scored in the sixth on Ivan Johnson’s run-scoring single to make it 6-5, only to see Lake County score three runs in the seventh on a home run by Rodriguez with two men on base to build their lead to 9-5.

The Dragons battled back in the eighth, getting back-to-back singles from Reyny Reyes and Hurtubise, and a walk to Matt McLain to load the bases with no one out. Reyes scored on a wild pitch, Hurtubise crossed the plate on a throwing error, and McLain came in on James Free’s sacrifice fly to pull the Dragons to within a run at 9-8. But the Dragons were retired in order in the ninth to fall short by a run.

Dragons starting pitcher Bryce Bonnin (0-2) was charged with the loss. He worked four innings and allowed five runs on five hits with one walk and eight strikeouts.

Johnson was 2 for 4 with four runs batted in. Hurtubise, McLain and Reyes each had two hits.

With nine games to play, the Dragons are four games behind Cedar Rapids in the race for the No. 2 seed in the playoffs.