Dragons rally to split DH vs. Lansing

Dayton's Quin Cotton leads the Dragons with five stolen bases. The team is on pace to equal the club record for a season. An experimental rule in High-A leagues eliminating certain pickoff moves is meant to increase base stealing. Jeff Gilbert/CONTRIBUTED
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Dayton's Quin Cotton leads the Dragons with five stolen bases. The team is on pace to equal the club record for a season. An experimental rule in High-A leagues eliminating certain pickoff moves is meant to increase base stealing. Jeff Gilbert/CONTRIBUTED

The Dayton Dragons rallied in game two of a doubleheader Wednesday to earn a split with the Lansing Lugnuts. Lansing won the first game, 4-3, scoring all four runs in the final inning, while the Dragons took the nightcap, 5-3.

Dragons reliever Jake Gilbert, who had just rejoined the team earlier in the day, induced a bases-loaded double play ball from the only batter he faced to end the game and earn the save in game two.

The Dragons trailed 2-1 in the nightcap before scoring three runs in the fourth inning to take the lead. Reyny Reyes and Jonathan Willems each had base hits to start the rally, and Jacob Hurtubise drove in Reyes with a hit to center field to tie the game. Three Lansing wild pitches brought Willems and then Hurtubise in to give the Dragons a 4-2 lead.  After Lansing scored one run in the fifth, Hurtubise manufactured a run in the sixth when he walked, stole second, took third on an error, and scored on Quin Cotton’s ground out to make it 5-3.

Matt McLain stole three bases in the second game, going 2 for 2 with two singles and two walks.  Victor Ruiz hit a second inning solo home run and Cotton was 2 for 4 with an RBI, going 5 for 7 in the doubleheader. Hurtubise was 1 for 3 with a single and walk, two runs scored, a stolen base, and an RBI.

In the first game, the Dragons took a 3-0 lead to the final inning before Lansing’s William Simoneit belted a two-out grand slam home run off an 0-2 pitch from Dayton reliever Francis Peguero to give the Lugnuts a 4-3 lead and their margin of victory. Peguero issued back-to-back walks with two outs to load the bases before Simoneit’s grand slam. The Dragons got a second inning two-run home run from Alex McGarry while Quin Cotton went 3 for 3 in the game.

The Dragons trail Cedar Rapids by three games in the race for the final playoff spot with 16 games to play. Dayton is two games behind Great Lakes and Lake County in the East Division of the High-A Central League (division winner not guaranteed a playoff berth).