DAYTON, Ohio – The Great Lakes Loons have collected a season-high amount of hits on back-to-back nights. In game one on Wednesday night 15 hits was not enough for a win, but in game two on Thursday night 16 hits was. The Loons downed the Dayton Dragons to earn a rubber match after a 7-5 win at Fifth Third Field.
The Loons had at least one baserunner aboard in all nine innings and recorded at least one hit in every inning after the first. Darien Tubbs, Luke Raley, and Will Smith, all 2016 Dodgers draft selections, garnered three-hit nights. For Tubbs and Raley it was the first time as Loons recording three hits in a single game.
As a team, 16 hits and 13 left on base are both season-highs. 31 combined hits through just two games of the series has boosted the Loons team batting average from .220 to .224. After batting just .210 as a team entering the month, Great Lakes is hitting .264 in July.
Just as they did in game one, the Loons scored first in game two. Matt Jones grounded out to first base and scored a lead-off single by Smith to give the Loons a 1-0 lead in the 2nd inning. Dayton then tied and took the lead in the 3rd inning against Loons lefty starter Caleb Ferguson. With one out, Mitch Piatnik singled up the right side and was scored in the next at-bat on a two-bagger by Daniel Sweet, who was making his Dragons debut. Josciel Veras followed Sweet with a double of his own and platted the Dayton newcomer.
Great Lakes did not wait around to re-take the once lost lead. Working against Dayton right-handed starter Austin Orewiler (L, 2-9), three consecutive base hits culminating with a Garrett Hope single re-tied the game at two. Then with two outs, Tubbs sent a ball up the box to re-grasp the lead, 3-2 in the 4th inning.
Cincinnati Reds’ 2nd-round pick Chris Okey, a Clemson product, led-off the 4th inning with a deep drive to left center field and again tied the game. Logan Landon responded for the Loons in the 5th inning with a sacrifice fly out to left field scoring Raley to give Great Lakes their third lead of the night. This time they would not let go.
In the 6th inning, Omar Estevez became the final Loons batter to record a hit and whacked a ball out of the yard to left field to elevate the Great Lakes lead to three on a two-run shot. Dayton, as the trend of the night, retorted with a run in the 6th inning against reliever Brian Bass (W, 2-6). James Vasquez drilled a home run to right field to bring the hosts back within two.
Both teams would score another single run in the 7th inning to bring the score to 7-5. The scoring changes came on RBI-singles by Tubbs for Great Lakes and Zach Shields, who entered as a pinch-hitter in the 5th inning, for Dayton.
Angel German pitched the 7th inning for the Loons and Shea Spitzbath (S, 2) tossed the final two innings to secure the victory.
Ferguson made his third start of the season for the Loons and went four innings ceding three earned runs on six hits and zero walks. The southpaw earned four strikeouts, but suffered from an elevated pitch count at 84 total throws through his four innings of work.
The Loons have struggled on the road this season, but can earn themselves their first road series win of the second half with a triumph on Friday night. First pitch in the rubber match is set for 7:00 p.m. ET. Begin the night by listening to pregame coverage of Loons baseball on ESPN 100.9-FM at 6:30.
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