Connor Curlis is happy to be back in Ohio.
The Findlay native and former Ohio State University pitcher began the season at extended spring training in Goodyear, Ariz. and was called up to the Dragons on May 20.
“Ohio has always been home, born and raised,” Curlis said. “It’s great to have family here watching and to put on that Dragons uniform and represent Ohio is amazing.”
Curlis tossed his best outing of the season in his second start on Tuesday night, earning his first victory of the year as the Dragons beat Lansing 8-1 in front of 7,303 people at Fifth Third Field. Dayton hit four home runs in the victory, snapping a six-game losing streak.
Curlis, who also played for the collegiate summer baseball Champion City Kings in Springfield in 2017, pitched five innings, allowing one earned run on five hits with three strikeouts and no walks. He threw 45 of his 75 pitches for strikes.
“I was working fastball and change-up,” said Curlis, a 24th-round pick by the Reds in the 2018 draft. “I wasn’t getting ahead, so I had to battle. My curveball and slider still aren’t there yet, but it’ll come. It was only my second start. I was just trying to let them hit it, let the defense play behind me and give us a chance to win.”
Pabel Manzanero, Reniel Ozuna, Brian Rey and Juan Martinez all homered for the Dragons (16-36) in the first of a six-game homestand.
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“The guys came out ready to swing,” said Dragons bench coach Kevin Mahar, who took over managerial duties for Luis Bolivar as he attended his daughter’s high school graduation. “They played home run derby early, got guys on and drove them in. It was fun to watch.”
The game was in limbo earlier in the day as Fifth Third Field was without electricity until mid-afternoon. Once power was restored, the front office decided to play the game as scheduled.
The Dragons took an early 2-0 lead in the next half-inning when first baseman Pabel Manzanero smashed his sixth home run of the season to left center field.
The Loons pulled to within one on a home run by Gabriel Moreno in the second inning.
Dayton nearly broke the game open in the third inning. Rivero opened the inning with a bunt single, Ventura walked and Ozuna reached on a bunt to load the bases with no outs. However, Rey popped out to third, Manzanero struck out and Jay Schuyler popped out to first base to end the inning.
Dayton extended its lead to 4-1 after a two-run home run by Ozuna sailed into the left field Dragons Lair in the fifth inning. The next batter Rey smashed a solo home run into left center field to make it 5-1. After a strikeout by Manzanero, Schuyler walked and Martinez hit a 415-foot home run to make it 7-1.
Back-to-back doubles by Martinez and catcher Morgan Lofstrom gave the Dragons an 8-1 lead in the seventh inning.
Alexis Diaz pitched three innings in relief, allowing no hits with two strikeouts. Jerry D’Andrea pitched a perfect ninth inning.
Helping the community: In response to the damage caused by Monday’s tornadoes, the Dragons will be accepting non-perishable food items and cash donations at Fifth Third Field for all games on the current homestand.
All non-perishable food items collected through June 2 will be donated to the The Foodbank, Inc. The Dragons will also be conducting a “pass the bucket” at each game for fans who want to donate money, which will be donated to the American Red Cross Cincinnati Dayton Region.
The organization is also allowing fans with tickets to the current homestand who aren’t able to attend the game due to weather-related issues to exchange their ticket to any future Dragons game in 2019 based on availability.
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