SOUTH BEND, Ind.—James Vasquez blasted a two-run home run and Michael Beltre added a solo shot to lead the Dayton Dragons to a 7-2 win over the South Bend Cubs on Saturday night. The Dragons earned their first win of the four-game series and will go for the split of the set in the finale on Sunday.
The win lifted the Dragons back into sole possession of first place in the Midwest League East Division with a 10-6 record. South Bend is 9-7, one game out of first.
The Dragons got off to a quick start, scoring three runs in the first inning. T.J. Friedl walked to start the game and Jose Siri sacrificed him to second. Taylor Trammell singled through the middle to drive in Friedl to make it 1-0. One batter later, Vasquez walked and Luis Gonzalez followed with a double down the left field line to drive in two more runs to give the Dragons a 3-0 lead.
South Bend scored one run in the bottom of the first, but Dayton’s Michael Beltre launched a solo home run to right field in the second to make it 4-1. It was Beltre’s second homer of the year, tying him with Tyler Stephenson for the team lead.
After South Bend added one run in the third to make it 4-2, but the Dragons responded with a run in the fourth when Brantley Bell singled, stole second, and scored on Beltre’s hit to center. Then in the fifth, James Vasquez blasted a long two-run home run to right field, his first of the year, to make it 7-2.
Dragons starting pitcher Tony Santillan worked four innings and faced the first two batters in the fifth. He allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits with three walks and seven strikeouts but was not involved in the decision. Aaron Fossas replaced Santillan with runners at first and second and no one out in the bottom of the fifth. Fossas (1-0) worked out of the jam in the fifth and then remained in the game for three more innings without allowing a run to earn the win. His final line included four innings with only one hit allowed, no walks, and one strikeout. Joel Kuhnel worked the bottom of the ninth in a non-save situation, tossing a scoreless frame.
The Dragons collected seven hits. Beltre led the way, going 2 for 4 with two runs batted in. Vasquez and Gonzalez each had two RBI as well.
The Dragons and Cubs will meet in the finale to the series on Sunday at 2:05 p.m. in South Bend. Scott Moss (1-1, 5.14) will start for the Dragons against South Bend’s Duncan Robinson (2-1, 1.32).