Grand slam keys Dragons’ season-opening win

Dayton Dragons center fielder Michael Siani (center) celebrates with teammates after a victory over West Michigan Whitecaps in 2019. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY MICHAEL COOPER
Dayton Dragons center fielder Michael Siani (center) celebrates with teammates after a victory over West Michigan Whitecaps in 2019. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY MICHAEL COOPER

Dayton’s Quincy McAfee blasted a grand slam home run and Eric Yang added a solo homer as the Dragons defeated the Great Lakes Loons 9-4 on Tuesday night in the season opener for both teams. The game marked the official entry for the Dragons and Loons into the new High-A Central League.

McAfee, a product of Pepperdine University, led a 13-hit Dayton attack by going 3 for 5. His grand slam was the first by a Dayton player since July 27, 2019 when Brian Rey belted one in Fort Wayne. Yang, Michael Siani and Quin Cotton had two hits apiece for Dayton. Jacob Hurtubise, the Dragons lead-off hitter, had a bunt hit, two walks, two stolen bases, and three runs scored.

The Dragons built a 4-0 lead, saw Great Lakes battled back in the seventh inning to make it 4-2, and then extended the lead to 9-2 in the top of the ninth, keyed by McAfee’s grand slam.  Great Lakes scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth to close out the scoring.

The victory was credited to Dragons reliever JC Keys, who went two and one-third innings without allowing a run.  He surrendered just one hit.  Dragons starting pitcher Lyon Richardson did not allow a hit or run in three innings, walking three and strikeout out three.

The Dragons will play at Great Lakes again on Wednesday at 6:05 p.m.  Eduardo Salazar will start for the Dragons against Robinson Ortiz. Dayton’s home opener is May 11 (7:05 p.m.) against the Lansing Lugnuts at Day Air Ballpark.

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