Hurtubise propels Dragons to victory over league’s best team

Dayton's Jacob Hurtubise beats the tag by Quad Cities shortstop Nick Loftin in the second inning of Sunday's game at Day Air Ballpark. The steal was Hurtubise's second of the game and 15th of the season. Jeff Gilbert/CONTRIBUTED
Dayton's Jacob Hurtubise beats the tag by Quad Cities shortstop Nick Loftin in the second inning of Sunday's game at Day Air Ballpark. The steal was Hurtubise's second of the game and 15th of the season. Jeff Gilbert/CONTRIBUTED

The Dayton Dragons were slow starters this week against Quad Cities. But on Sunday they hit early like they had some place to go. And Jacob Hurtubise led the way with his fast legs, hot bat and golden glove.

Two runs in the first and three runs in the seventh sparked the Dragons to a 10-4 victory and a series win over the team with the best record in the High-A Central League.

The Dragons (14-10) won the series 4-2 with three come-from-behind victories and remain a half game behind first-place West Michigan in the East Division. Quad Cities (15-8) led the West Division by 3.5 games entering Sunday.

Hurtubise inherited the leadoff spot when Brian Rey was promoted to AA and was 8 for 20 against Quad Cities. He entered the game leading the league with a .456 on-base percentage and was fifth in batting average at .311. He stole two bases and is second in the league with 16.

Hurtubise walked to start the first and stole second. Mike Siani doubled him home and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Juan Martinez. Francisco Urbaez keyed the second inning with a two-run double.

Hurtubise put the Dragons up 8-0 in the sixth with a two-run single. His sharp grounder kicked off the diving first baseman’s glove into short right field. He scored to make it 10-0 on Jonathan Willems’ sacrifice fly.

In right field, Hurtubise robbed the River Bandits of extra bases twice. In the fifth, Vinnie Pasquantino hit a high drive that Hurtubise leaped and caught at the top of the fence. In the eighth, he made a diving catch of a line drive by Michael Massey.

Graham Ashcraft (2-1) pitched five scoreless innings, allowing six hits and a walk while striking out six.

The Dragons collected 10 hits and won for the second time this week in a game started by Asa Lacy (1-2). Lacy was the fourth overall selection in the 2020 draft by the Kansas City Royals and the first pitcher drafted. Lacy played at Texas A&M and is the fourth highest rated left-handed pitching prospect in the minors by Baseball America.

Quad Cities bench coach Mike Jirschele was ejected for arguing a balk call against a River Bandits pitcher that brought home the Dragons’ ninth run.

Saturday’s doubleheader: The Dragons rallied to win the first game 6-4, then lost the second 2-1.

In the first game, Quincy McAfee broke a 4-4 tie with a two-run double in the sixth inning and reliever Pedro Garcia was perfect in his first appearance. Garcia (1-0) entered the game in the sixth and struck out two with the bases loaded to end the inning.

The Dragons fell behind 3-0 before taking the lead with four runs in the fourth. Quin Cotton hit a two-run homer, his third of the season, to put the Dragons temporarily ahead.

In Saturday’s second game, the Dragons left the bases loaded in the fifth inning and runners at second and third in the seventh after scoring their only run on a groundout. Quad Cities scored single runs in the fifth and sixth innings off Dragons starter Noah Davis (0-3).

Both managers were ejected in the seventh inning of the second game. The Dragons’ Jose Moreno was tossed in the top of the inning. Dragons reliever Francis Peguero was called for a balk, and Moreno disagreed with the call. In the bottom of the inning, the River Bandits’ Chris Widger argued that Hurtubise leaned into the pitch he was hit with.

This week: The Dragons return to East Division play with a six-game series at Lake County beginning Tuesday night. Spencer Stockton is scheduled to start the series opener and finale. In between the starters will be Lyon Richardson, Eduardo Salazar, Davis and Ashcraft.

TUESDAY’S GAME

Dragons at Lake County,

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