The Dayton Dragons are off to a rough start to the second half of the season, but they’re hoping to take a lesson from the first half. Lake County scored five runs in each the fifth and sixth innings on Sunday to spark a 15-6 victory over Dayton to take three of four in the series..
It isn’t the first rough series against the Captains at Fifth Third Field. Dayton opened the season with two losses to Lake County in April, but they won their next seven games to set the tone for their 41-29 first-half record.
The Dragons lost three of their best hitters (Brantley Bell, Luis Gonzalez and T.J. Friedl) from the first half last week when they were moved up to High-A Daytona, and manager Luis Bolivar said it will take some time for the team to adjust.
“We’re trying to get back together and get involved with the new guys we have,” Bolivar said. “Second half, we really try to get the guys to play better, since the big purpose is to play up.”
Game changer: Starter Scott Moss gave up one hit through the first four innings, but his outing fell apart in the fifth.
Moss gave up a double to start the inning but struck out the next batter. Lake County followed with two singles to the outfield, the latter of which brought in a run from third base. Logan Ice then hit a three-run home run to center field to put Lake County up 4-1.
Moss struck out the next batter but followed by walking Junior Soto, who stole second and later scored on an outfield single.
The game got ugly for Dayton (42-32) in the sixth when Ice hit a grand slam off reliever Lucas Benenati to increase the lead to 10-1.
Dragons tales: Jose Siri led off the Dragons in the sixth by hitting the first pitch of his at-bat to the lawn section in right field. It was the third home run of the series for Siri and his eighth since May 21.
Siri has hit slightly better than .355 over his last 26 games, which has raised his season average from .218 to .274.
“With losing some guys, we’re hoping he can keep it up,” Bolivar said. “He’s made some changes in his approach and has hit the ball well to both sides of the field.”
• Michael Beltre added a run in the seventh for Dayton with some fast foot work. After Beltre hit a double to right field, Cassidy Brown hit a ground ball to third baseman Miguel Eladio, who threw it over the head of first baseman Jose Vicente.
Beltre advanced to third and stopped while Vicente tracked the ball down in shallow right field. Vicente stood up with his back turned to home plate, and Beltre took off and safely beat the throw home.
On deck: The Dragons travel to West Michigan on Monday for the first of a four-game series against the Whitecaps. Tony Santillan (4-3, 3.10 ERA) is slated to start on Monday.
Dayton returns home on Friday to open a four-game series against Fort Wayne.