Dragons hit three HRs, but fall to Loons

Pregame fun at the Dayton Dragons game at Day Air Ballpark Wednesday night April 20, 2022. MARSHALL GORBY \STAFF

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Pregame fun at the Dayton Dragons game at Day Air Ballpark Wednesday night April 20, 2022. MARSHALL GORBY \STAFF

Great Lakes slugger Imanol Vargas belted an eighth inning grand slam home run as the Loons overcame a six-run deficit to defeat the Dayton Dragons 11-8 on Friday night. Vargas, who also hit a grand slam on Thursday against the Dragons, capped off a five-run inning for the lead. Dayton left the bases loaded in the ninth inning as the series drew even at two wins apiece.

The Dragons hit three home runs in the loss and have hit nine in four games in the series, but the Dayton bullpen had a tough night, allowing seven runs in four innings of work.

Dayton’s Jose Torres became the first player in Dragons history to steal four bases in one game, stealing two in the second inning and two more in the fourth. 

The Dragons jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second inning on a two-run home run from Austin Hendrick and a two-run single by Tyler Callihan. 

In the third, Ibarra cracked a high home run to left field that was estimated at 422 feet to extend the Dragons lead to 5-0. 

In the fourth, Torres reached on an error, stole second and third, and scored on another error to make it 6-0.

But Great Lakes scored four in the bottom of the fourth against Dayton starter Christian Roa to make it 6-4, and they scored again in the fifth against reliever Jake Gozzo to pull to within a run.

The Dragons got a run back in the sixth on Mat Nelson’s fifth homer of the year to go ahead 7-5, but Great Lakes scored in the seventh to cut the Dayton lead to 7-6.  Dayton scored in the top of the eighth when Hendrick doubled, stole third, and scored on Torres’ sacrifice fly to make it 8-6.

Great Lakes scored five runs in the bottom of the eighth against Dayton reliever Manuel Cachutt to take an 11-8 lead. The Dragons loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth to put the tying run on base, but Nelson struck out to end the game.

The Dragons finished with nine hits.  Hendrick and Ibarra each had two.  The Dragons also stole a season-high six bases including four by Torres.

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