The Dayton Dragons’ pitchers threw well for a second straight night. Brian Rey raised his average to .406 with three hits. But for pure fun, the player to watch was Jacob Hurtubise, aka The Game Wrecker.
Hurtubise is a first-year pro out of Army with the label of “fastest player” in the Cincinnati Reds’ organization, and Reds’ minor league hitting coordinator CJ Gillman calls Hurtubise “a game wrecker.” Hurtubise, a 5-foot-11, 190-pounder, used that speed twice to help the Dragons defeat Lansing 3-1 Thursday night.
In the fourth inning, Hurtubise chased down a long fly ball and made a leaping catch while banging into the wall. The game was scoreless then.
“That was a great catch,” Dragons manager Jose Moreno said. “In spring training, we were talking about the speed that we have in the outfield. Every fly ball that is inside the stadium they’re going to have a chance to make those plays.”
In the eighth, with the Dragons (7-3) clinging to a 1-0 lead, Hurtubise drew his seventh walk in his seventh game to raise his on-base percentage to .448. Always a threat to steal, Hurtubise stuck to first base. But when Rey grounded a single into left, Hurtubise had third base on his mind.
Hurtubise slid into third ahead of the throw and did what he tries to do – force bad throws. The throw from left fielder Lester Madden sailed over third baseman Cobie Vance’s head. Hurtubise scrambled to his feet and sprinted home for a 2-0 lead.
“The pressure that he brings to the field and the other team – they have to be perfect,” Moreno said. “We want to create chaos, and sometimes that will happen when you have somebody that can run like that. They try to make perfect throws, and that’s not going to happen.”
The Dragons got a great 1-2 pitching punch from starter and undrafted free agent Spencer Stockton and 25th-round pick Ricky Salinas. Stockton (2-0) worked five innings, allowed one hit and struck out three. Salinas pitched three innings, allowed one hit and struck out four.
Salinas started last week and allowed four runs before being relieved in the second inning. In Stockton’s only relief appearance, he allowed two hits in 4 1/3 scoreless innings. Moreno and pitching coach Brian Garman decided to give this start to Stockton.
“The plan was real good,” Moreno said. “Stockton gave us an opportunity to stay in the game. Then Salinas was lights out.”
The Lugnuts (5-5) had only two hits, but they scored in the ninth when Johnnie Schneider hit a batter and walked three straight after getting the first batter out. Eddy Demurias came in and got a strikeout and groundout on a 3-0 pitch for his first save.
Rey also had a sacrifice fly in the fifth for his league-leading 14th RBI. He scored the Dragons’ final run in the ninth on Eric Yang’s single.
“He’s putting the barrel on the good pitches,” Moreno said of Rey. “You can tell right now that he doesn’t chase too many bad pitches out of the strike zone. And when you do that, you have a lot of opportunities to have good at-bats.”
Richardson recognized: Dragons starter Lyon Richardson has been named the High-A Central League pitcher of the week for May 4-9. Richardson made two starts and threw eight scoreless innings. He allowed four hits with four walks and struck out nine. Richardson was the Cincinnati Reds second-round draft pick in 2018 out of high school.
Next game: The Dragons send Richardson (1-0, 0.00 ERA) to the mound Friday night in a game that will be televised on Dayton’s CW. Richardson is rated the Reds’ No. 13 prospect by Baseball America.
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