Dragons rally to beat River Bandits

Dayton’s Ashton Creal delivered two hits, including a game-tying two-out, run-scoring single in the eighth inning, to lead the Dragons to a 6-4 victory over the Quad Cities River Bandits on Friday night. 

The Dragons twice battled back from two-run deficits and eventually took the lead in the eighth inning.

Quad Cities took the lead with two runs in the bottom of the third, but the Dragons responded with two in the top of the fourth to tie the game.  Mat Nelson and Steven Leyton both singled to start the rally, and Garrett Wolforth doubled off the glove of the third baseman to bring in Nelson and make it 2-1.  Ashton Creal then delivered a sacrifice fly to drive in Leyton and tie the game.  Quad Cities regained the lead with two runs in the fifth to jump back in front, 4-2.

Creal doubled off the left field fence in the seventh, and Austin Hendrick lined a single to center to drive him in and make it 4-3.

In the eighth, Tyler Callihan walked to start the inning, and Nelson was hit by a pitch.  But Leyton bunted into a fielder’s choice as Callihan was thrown out at third.  Wolforth struck out, and with two outs, Creal singled to center field to drive in Nelson from second and tie the game, moving Leyton to third.  Leyton came in to score on a wild pick-off throw to first base to give Dayton a 5-4 lead.

Boatman, who had struck out all three batters he faced in the seventh, struck out two more in the bottom of the eighth in another scoreless inning.  In the top of the ninth, Dayton’s Michel Triana belted a solo home run, his third with the Dragons, to give the club a 6-4 lead.

Gozzo gave up a lead-off single in the bottom of the ninth and then allowed a one-out walk to put runners at first and second.  But he retired the next two hitters on a tapper in front of the mound and a fly out to medium deep left field to end the game.

Dennis Boatman (2-2) was credited with the win, throwing two scoreless innings and allowing just one base runner while striking out five. Jake Gozzo picked up his third save by working a scoreless ninth.  Vin Timpanelli, the first Dayton reliever of the night, also pitched extremely well, striking out four in two scoreless innings while allowing one hit and no walks.  Starter Christian Roa tossed four innings, allowing four runs on four hits with five walks and two strikeouts.

The Dragons are 6-3 on their current road trip, guaranteeing themselves a winning record on the trip.  Their full-season record improved to 57-58.  They are 18-31 in the second half.  Quad Cities fell 48-70 overall and 22-30 in the second half.  The Dragons and River Bandits have split the four games played in the current series with two more on the schedule.