- Nick Dudukovich Contributing Writer
If hitting is contagious, the Dayton Dragons should be under quarantine.
Bowling Green was without hazmat suits and got an up-close view of the Dragons’ infectious play Wednesday night, falling 11–1 at Fifth Third Field.
The victory continued an impressive stretch for the Dragons, who have scored 46 runs and collected 57 hits on their five-game winning streak.
Dayton knocked around knuckleballer Chris Pike in the second inning for six runs and six hits. The six knocks tied the Dragons’ season high for hits in an inning first set July 19 against Peoria. Their 14 hits were the most since they had 15 against Lansing on April 18.
Manager Luis Bolivar told his team to look for the ball up in the strike zone with a knuckler on the mound, and if a pitch was low, there was a good chance it was going to be a ball.
“They stayed under control, they saw the ball well and they made the adjustments,” Bolivar said.
Cleanup hitter Taylor Trammell walked to begin the second and John Sansone moved him to second with a one-out bloop single to right.
Hector Vargas doubled over the head of left fielder Jesus Sanchez, scoring Trammell. Catcher Mitch Trees knocked in Sansone to give Dayton a 2-0 lead.
No. 9 hitter Michael Beltre followed with a sharp hit that went off the outstretched glove of Pike, scoring Vargas. Randy Ventura then cracked a two-run triple well over center fielder Garrett Whitley’s head and Carlos Rivero drove him home with a single.
The winning streak is welcome news after a period in which the Dragons lost 14 of 15 between July 29 and Aug. 17. Since then, they’ve won eight of 10.
Can they keep it up?
“The last five or six games, we’ve been on fire and I think we’re going to carry that on to the playoffs,” pitcher Andrew Jordan said.
Game changer: The offense did its part, but so did Jordan, who threw six innings and allowed one run on four hits. He struck out four and walked one. The free pass, to Bobby Melley, came back to bite Jordan. The first baseman later scored his team’s only run on an Emilio Gustave single.
While Dragons bats have been breathing fire, the rotation is holding up its end of the bargain, especially because a postseason start may be at stake.
“Each starter is fighting for a playoff spot because they want to pitch in the playoffs,” Jordan said.
Dragons tales: Trammell’s recent hot play and Jose Siri’s hit streak caught a lot of attention, and rightfully so, but don’t forget Vargas.
The shortstop has been on a tear, batting .313 since July 20. He’s seen his average jump from .193 to .224 during that stretch.
“He’s just more patient, he’s able to repeat his swing and the confidence is there,” Bolivar said.
Gone: Malik Collymore was moved up to Class A Daytona. He hit .222 in 34 games with the Dragons.
Next game: Matt Blandino (3-4, 6.22) tries to complete the series sweep today against Bowling Green’s Mikey York (0-0, 0.00 ERA). First pitch is 7 p.m.