Dragons hit the road for 12 games off loss to Great Lakes

The Dayton Dragons embark on a 12-game road trip Tuesday to Quad Cities then Beloit. They would love to have gotten on the bus for the fortnight with a fourth straight win.

Instead, the Dragons will pull out of town with the memory of a 3-1 loss Sunday to first-place Great Lakes. However, the Dragons are trending they way they want to. They won the series 4-2 for their first six-game series win. They only other series win was 2-1 in the season-opening weekend home series against Lansing.

“Our starting pitching has been so much better and giving us a chance,” manager Vince Harrison Jr. said. “We’re in a good spot.”

Dragons starter Jared Lyons extended his scoreless streak to 16 innings before allowing a game-tying lead-off home run to Thayron Liranzo in the sixth. That was the only run and one of six hits Lyons allowed through six innings to lower his ERA to 2.78.

“It’s really just about keeping him in attack mode,” Harrison said. “I thought he was outstanding today. His best pitch is his curveball, and he didn’t have it at all. He bounced like four of them, and I think he threw one decent one. So that says a lot to his mindset and what (pitching coach) Brian’s (Garman) been working on with him”

The Loons added two runs in the eighth on Liranzo’s second home run, this one a lead-off blast against T.J. Sikkema. The Loons added their final run later in the inning on a sacrifice fly to deep center that Carlos Jorge ran down at full speed on the warning track.

The Dragons made two other terrific catches. First baseman Ruben Ibarra made a basket catch over his left shoulder running toward the Great Lakes bullpen. Then right fielder Jay Allen II made the catch of the season charging in toward the right-field foul line. He made a diving catch right behind the Loons’ bullpen mound and slid under the bullpen bench.

Dayton took a 1-0 lead in the third when Yan Contreras bunted for a single, stole second and scored on Allen’s double. But Carlos Jorge flew out and Sal Stewart struck out to end the threat. The Dragons had five hits and walked four times, but they left eight runners on base. Allen’s double was the only hit in seven attempts with runners in scoring position.

Harrison liked the consistency of approach and effort he saw this week. Now the challenge is to continue that growth during the long road trip and remain in the hunt for the first-half championship. The Dragons are in fourth place in the Midwest League East Division and trail division co-leaders Great Lakes and Lake County by four games.

The trip will be against two teams hovering at the .500 mark and will demand a quick adaptation and staying locked into the road routine, which means less field time for sharpening skills and building good habits. Efficient use of time, Harrison says, is critical.

“Going into other people’s places we have to get back to our principles, which I think we did this week,” Harrison said. “We try to get our pitchers to stay ahead, we want our offense to score early, stay locked in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. Anytime we got a chance at the end that’s that’s all we want to do.”


Dayton at Quad Cities, 7:35 p.m., 980

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