Jay Schuyler hit a home run the Dragons defeated the visiting Lake County Captains 4-3 on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019. BRIAN SWARTZ / DRAGONS PHOTO

Streaking Dragons gain ground on playoff lead, wildcard race

The Dragons battled back after Lake County scored two runs in the top of the first inning. Dayton scored three in the bottom of the first and one more in the third to lead 4-2. Lake County scored in the eighth inning to trim the Dayton lead to 4-3. The Captains had the tying run in scoring position in both the eighth and ninth innings but could not deliver the big hit as the Dragons held on to win their fourth game in five contests on the current home stand.

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The Dayton win coupled with losses by playoff race leaders Bowling Green and South Bend left the Dragons four games out of the wildcard slot and five games out of first place with 29 games to play.

Trailing 2-0, the Dragons scored in the bottom of the first on a two-out single by Juan Martinez to bring in Michael Siani from second. Cameron Warren followed with a two-run double to drive in Schuyler and Martinez to give the Dragons a 3-2 lead. Schuyler’s solo home run in the third, his third homer of the year, made it 4-2.

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Dragons starting pitcher Lyon Richardson settled down after allowing the two first inning runs and worked three straight scoreless innings before leaving at the end of the fourth. Andy Fisher (2-1) replaced Richardson and was credited with the win. Fisher hit the first batter he faced but retired the next nine in a row including seven on strikeouts. He struck out the last six batters he faced.

Leading 4-2, Matt Pidich replaced Fisher to start the eighth and allowed a pair of singles and a walk to load the bases with no one out. Lake County scored a run on a sacrifice fly to make it 4-3 before Pidich retired the next two hitters to end the threat. In the ninth inning, Pidich struck out the first two hitters before allowing a two-out single and a stolen base.

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With the tying run at second, Lake County’s Jose Fermin grounded out on a slow roller to third baseman Juan Martinez to end the game. Pidich earned his fifth save.

Dragons pitchers struck out 17 batters, a team season high. After the first inning, Lake County was held to one run on four hits.

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The Dragons finished with eight hits by eight different players. Warren’s double and the home run by Schuyler were their two extra base hits.

• The Dragons (19-22, 47-64) battle Lake County (22-19, 62-48) in a doubleheader on Monday. Sunday’s game was postponed due to the Oregon District mass shooting early Sunday morning. Monday’s doubleheader will start at 6 p.m. and both games will be seven innings.

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