Martinez leads Dragons past Whitecaps

Dragons third baseman J.V. Martinez throws out a runner on a ground ball during the second inning of Sunday's game against West Michigan at DayAir Ballpark. Jeff Gilbert/CONTRIBUTED

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Dragons third baseman J.V. Martinez throws out a runner on a ground ball during the second inning of Sunday's game against West Michigan at DayAir Ballpark. Jeff Gilbert/CONTRIBUTED

Dayton’s J.V. Martinez collected three doubles and drove in three runs to lead the Dragons to an 8-1 victory over the West Michigan Whitecaps on Saturday night. The win was the Dragons third straight in West Michigan against the first-place Whitecaps.

The Dragons improved their second half record to 9-18 (48-45 overall). West Michigan fell to 20-9 in the second half (51-44 overall).

The Dragons put together a consistent offense, scoring runs in four different innings and collecting nine hits for the third straight game.  After scoring just six runs over a four-game period Saturday through Wednesday, the Dragons have scored 20 runs over the three games in their current winning streak.

Trailing 1-0 after two innings, the Dragons took the lead for good in the third.  Martinez doubled to right field to start the inning and scored on a base hit by Quincy McAfee.  Steven Leyton followed with a double to left-center to drive in McAfee and give Dayton a 2-1 lead.  Leyton eventually scored from third with two outs on an infield single by Jose Torres to make it 3-1.

The Dragons added two more runs in the fourth when Martinez ripped a two-run double down the left field line to make it 5-1.  Dayton tacked on two more in the sixth.  Again, it was Martinez who keyed the rally with a one-out double to left field.  After a walk to McAfee, Leyton singled to left-center to drive in Martinez, and McAfee scored on an error to make it 7-1.  In the seventh, Martinez delivered a sacrifice fly to drive in Quin Cotton, who had walked earlier in the inning, to close out the scoring.

For the second straight night, the Dayton bullpen was brilliant.  After Jacques Pucheu and Braxton Roxby combined for four and one-third scoreless innings on Friday, it was Jake Gozzo, Jayvien Sandridge, and Jake Gilbert on Saturday who combined for five and one-third innings without allowing a hit or a run.  Gozzo (1-0) was credited with the win.  He worked two and one-third, issuing one walk with two strikeouts.  Dayton pitchers combined to strikeout 16 in the game while allowing just three hits.

Dragons starting pitcher Joe Boyle struck out seven in three and two-thirds innings.  He allowed three hits and one run with three walks.

Martinez paced the offense, going 3 for 3 with a walk and a sacrifice fly, three runs batted in, and two runs scored. McAfee, Leyton, and Torres each collected two hits.