Shard Munroe could feel an offensive outburst coming.
“We go off of each other’s energy,” said the Dayton Dragons outfielder/first baseman, “and tonight the energy was just really great. We fed off of it and kept going.”
The Dragons trailed the Great Lake Loons 3-1 in the third inning, but scored seven unanswered runs to earn an 8-3 victory in the first of a four-game homestand on Thursday night at Fifth Third Field on Thursday night.
Dayton had a season-high 12 hits in the victory. They also tied a season-high with six extra base hits, including hitting for the cycle as a team in the four-run sixth inning. The game was called after seven innings due to rain.
“The guys are taking good at-bats lately,” said Dragons manager Luis Bolivar. “On the road, they did a pretty good job in Lake County. It’s getting warm and they’re getting a little more confident. They’ll be able to open it up and put more runs on the board. There are good things coming.”
Designated hitter Jay Schuyler and right fielder Reniel Ozuna each had three hits, Munroe had a triple and a home run and Jonathan Willems hit a three-run home run as the Dragons improved to 8-12 on the season.
Dayton also tied a club record with three triples in the game, accomplishing the feat for the first time since 2016.
Munroe hit his Midwest League-leading fourth triple in his first start of the season at first base. He dedicated the game to his girlfriend, Celiandra Guzman, who graduated from college in Phoenix, he said.
“I hadn’t had a home run yet (this season),” Munroe said. “I couldn’t go so I sent my Mom. I’m glad I could do that for her on her graduation.”
Dayton took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning on a sacrifice fly by Schuyler that scored Mariel Bautista from third base.
The Loons scored two runs in the second inning and added another run in the third to take a 3-1 lead, chasing Dragons starter Jared Solomon from the game.
Dayton relief pitcher Alexis Diaz pitched 2⅓ scoreless innings to pick the victory and Jerry D’Andrea picked up the save working two scoreless innings for the Dragons.
Dayton’s Michael Siani tripled to lead off the fourth inning and Munroe followed with a triple to make it 3-2. Munroe scored on a single by Schuyler to tie the game. The Dragons took the lead a few batters later when a ground ball from Miguel Hernandez scored Schuyler to make it 4-3.
The Dragons extended their lead to 8-3 in the sixth inning. With runners on second and third base, Willems blasted a 377-foot home run to make it 7-3. Two batters later, Munroe hit a 368-foot home run down to make it 8-3. It was the first time all season the Dragons had hit two home runs in one inning.
“The offense took over,” Bolivar said. “It’s always nice when they can back up the pitching staff.”
Dayton went 2-4 on its recent 10-day road trip to Lansing and Lake County, losing two-of-three in each series. Munroe believes the big night at the plate will give the team momentum moving forward, he said.
“I think we’re going to keep hitting like this, especially after a game like tonight,” Munroe said.
● Dragons catcher Pabel Manzanero hit three home runs in the Dayton’s’ 7-4 victory over the Lake County Captains on Tuesday becoming the third player in team history to accomplish the feat. He joins Wily Mo Pena (2001), Juan Francisco (2007) and Byron Wiley (2009).
Through Thursday’s games, Manzanero was hitting .297 with eight RBIS and four HRs.
● Dayton made eight roster moves on Tuesday and Wednesday, including adding four new players. Pitchers Matt Pidich and Ricky Salinas were added from extended spring training, while catcher Morgan Lofstrom and infielder Carlos Rivera were brought to the club from Daytona. Catcher Ernesto Liberatore was assigned to Daytona, infielder Claudio Finol and pitcher Adrian Rodriguez were sent to extended spring training and pitcher Jacob Heatherly was placed on the disabled list.
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