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Dragons suffer heart-breaking loss in playoff opener

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Dayton, Ohio—West Michigan’s Danny Pinero delivered a two-out, two-run double in the top of the ninth inning to lift the Whitecaps to a 3-2 comeback victory over the Dayton Dragons on Wednesday night at Fifth Third Field. The Whitecaps took a lead of one game to none in the best-of-three series that will now move to West Michigan.

The Dragons took a 2-1 lead to the ninth inning as West Michigan had only three base runners over the first eight frames in the game. Dragons reliever Aaron Fossas retired the first two batters of the inning before Daz Cameron lined a single to left field. Cole Bauml drew a walk to move Cameron to second and bring up Pinero, who made solid contact and belted a double off the center field fence. Both Cameron and Bauml scored on the play to give the Whitecaps a 3-2 lead. The Dragons were retired in order in the bottom of the ninth.

The Dragons broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the fourth inning. Jose Siri reached on an infield single to start the inning and one batter later, Bruce Yari blasted an opposite field two-run home run to make it 2-0. West Michigan scored one run in the top of the fifth on a two-out RBI single by Anthony Pereira to pull to within a run at 2-1.

Dragons starting pitcher Andrew Jordan retired the first 12 batters he faced. Jordan worked the first six innings, allowing only one run and only two base runners, both singles. He struck out five.

Dauri Moreta replaced Jordan to start the seventh and gave up a lead-off single before getting a double play ball and a ground out to close the scoreless frame. He remained in the game for the eighth and pitched a perfect inning, striking out two. Fossas entered the game to start the ninth and was charged with the loss.

The Dragons finished with five hits by five different players. Yari’s home run and a seventh inning double by Taylor Sparks were the only extra base hits.

Up Next: Game two of the playoff series with West Michigan moves to Grand Rapids on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. Scott Moss (13-6, 3.45) will start for Dayton against West Michigan’s Alfred Gutierrez (10-7, 3.06). The Dragons face a must-win game on Thursday and then must win again Friday at West Michigan to avoid elimination.

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