Thompson leads Dragons past Lugnuts

Justice Thompson belted a tie-breaking two-run home run in the seventh inning and the Dayton Dragons held on for a 4-2 victory over the Lansing Lugnuts on Tuesday night.

The Dragons improved to 12-23 in the second half (51-50 overall). Lansing fell to 14-23 in the second half (39-64 overall).

Lansing jumped out to a 1-0 lead with a single run in the top of the second inning before the Dragons answered with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the same frame.  Dayton’s Noelvi Marte started the inning with a double over the head of the right fielder and Michel Triana was hit by a pitch.  Jose Torres followed with a single to right field to drive in Marte and tie the game as Triana advanced to third.  Torres was out on the play trying to stretch the single into a double.  One batter later, Mat Nelson delivered a run-scoring double off the center field fence to drive in Triana and give the Dragons a 2-1 lead.

Lansing tied the game in the fourth and had chances to take the lead, but the Lugnuts failed to deliver the big hit.  Lansing went 1 for 17 on the night with men in scoring position.

In the bottom of the seventh, Dayton’s Tyler Callihan led off with a single to left field before Justice Thompson connected on a long opposite field drive that cleared the right field fence to give Dayton a 4-2 lead.

Dragons relievers Myles Gayman and Dennis Boatman combined to shutout the Lugnuts over the final two innings to close out the Dayton win.  Gayman (3-0) was credited with the win.  He tossed two scoreless innings, allowing three hits with no walks and two strikeouts.  Boatman allowed a two-out double in the ninth but notched a game-ending strikeout for his first save.

Reds reliever Art Warren pitched one scoreless inning for the Dragons, working the sixth.  He allowed a lead-off double in the inning but retired the next three and stranded the base runner.

Dragons starting pitcher Christian Roa struck out nine batters over five innings, allowing four hits, three walks, and two runs.

Nelson was 2 for 3 with a double and an RBI.  Along with Thompson’s home run, the Marte, Triana, and Brian Rey also added doubles.

Notes:  The win kept the Dragons full-season record above the .500 mark at 51-50.  The Dragons have not seen their full-season record fall under .500 at any time since the end of the 2019 season.