After taking the final two games -of a three game road series- against MWL single-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, the Dayton Dragons (26-19) at Fifth Third Field in downtown Dayton, Ohio on Monday and Tuesday, the Great Lakes Loons fell victim to the long ball, dropping the first game (of a three game home stand) 4-1 to the MWL eastern division leading South Bend Silverhawks (28-18) in front of 2,330 Loons faithful Thursday evening at Dow Diamond. The Silverhawks are the MWL single-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Long Ball was the difference:
Despite giving up three home runs, Loons starter, Jonathan Martinez (4-5, 3.47 ERA) had a decent pitching line, giving up just 3-runs off of 5-hits and only 2-BB; while striking out 2- batters through six innings of work Thursday night. Unfortunately for Martinez, 3-of the-5 hits he gave up were home runs; which carried over the wall at Dow Diamond with some help from a 17-mph wind blowing straight out to right field. Although, this was no excuse for the Loons offense (or lack-there-of) as they had the same 17-mph gust to right field while batting.
The bigger issue for the Loons (other than the three home runs) was their lack of run support on offense. The Loons could only muster one (unearned) run, off of just four team hits. Great Lakes second baseman, Jesmuel Valentin (son of former major league star, Jose Valentin) led off the bottom of the first inning with a single. Valentin advanced to second on a walk to Loons right fielder, Joey Curletta. Valentin ultimately scored after a throwing error by Silverhawks SS, Andrew Valazquez.
Martinez was charged with the loss for the Loons Thursday; while Southbend starter, Blake Perry (3-2, 3.78 ERA) earned the win for the Silverhawks. Perry gave up one (unearned) run off of 4-hits, and 2-BB; while striking out two Great Lakes batters through 5-innings of work Thursday evening.
The Loons and Silverhawks return to Dow Diamond for game two tonight, then finish up with the final tilt -of this- three game home stand on Saturday evening; both games have a 7:05 pm start time. The Loons will send (number 21 prospect in the Dodger organization, according to baseball America) RHP, Zachary Bird (2-6, 4.86 ERA) to the hill tonight; while Luis DePaula (1-1, 6.62 ERA) will get the nod Saturday.