COMSTOCK PARK – The West Michigan Whitecaps got down early and piled on six unanswered runs but couldn’t complete the comeback, falling to the Dayton Dragons 8-7 in front of 6,618 fans Thursday night at LMCU Ballpark.
The Dragons plated seven runs against ‘Caps starter Keider Montero – tied for the most allowed by a Whitecaps pitcher this season – including three home runs in the third inning.
The Whitecaps bullpen combined for 6.2 innings allowing just one run with eight strikeouts, but the offense couldn’t rally in the narrow defeat.
The ninth inning featured a benches-clearing situation after pitcher Vin Timpanelli hit Whitecaps catcher Josh Crouch with two outs in the ninth as the two teams had to be separated at the first base line, as no players or coaches were ejected.
West Michigan struck first in the second inning as Esney Chacon scored Corey Joyce on an RBI groundout to take the 1-0 lead.
Dayton responded with seven runs in the third inning – highlighted by three homers from Brian Rey, Mat Nelson, and Quin Cotton – taking a commanding 7-1 lead. Tyler Callihan added a valuable insurance tally in the fourth inning with an RBI single, extending the lead to 8-1.
The Whitecaps began their comeback in the fourth inning as Jose King smashed a two-run home run before Dustin Garneau and Austin Murr added individual RBIs to slim the lead to 8-6.
King added his third RBI in the seventh inning with an opposite-field single. Still, the ‘Caps couldn’t rally, as Dragons relievers Myles Gayman and Vin Timpanelli struck out five of the last seven Whitecaps hitters to slam the door on the 8-7 victory.
Dragons reliever Manuel Cachutt (2-1) secured his second victory as Timpanelli picked up his first save with three strikeouts in the ninth. Montero (5-6) suffered his sixth loss, allowing seven runs through 2.2 innings of work.
The Dragons improve to 46-45 and 7-20 in the second half. The Whitecaps fall to 51-42 and 20-7 in the second half. West Michigan still holds a four-game lead over the Lake County Captains for first place in the Midwest League East Division.
The Whitecaps play the Friday night contest of this six-game series at LMCU Ballpark as they take on the Dayton Dragons at 6:35 pm. Pitcher Joey Wentz, a Tigers Top-10 Prospect who made his Major Leaguer debut for the Tigers back in May, takes the mound for West Michigan against Dayton’s Thomas Farr. Broadcast coverage starts on the Whitecaps Baseball Network at 6:20 pm. Get your tickets for all 2022 home games now at www.whitecapsbaseball.com.