Fort Wayne, Ind.—Dayton starting pitcher Scott Moss combined with relievers Aaron Fossas and Ryan Hendrix on a two-hitter as the Dragons defeated the Fort Wayne TinCaps 4-1on Friday. The Dayton win coupled with losses on Friday by both South Bend and Lansing allowed the Dragons to clinch the wildcard berth in the Midwest League East Division.
The Dragons finished their game at 9:39 p.m. in Fort Wayne, then remained together in locker room as players and coaches watched the South Bend and Lansing games on computers and mobile devices. When Lansing lost to West Michigan and South Bend fell to Lake County just after 11:00 p.m., the celebration began.
The Dragons have guaranteed themselves a playoff berth in September as a first half qualifier. This marks the first time that the Dragons have gone to the playoffs since 2011 and their first entry as a first half qualifier since 2007. The Dragons have clinched second place in the East Division. The top two teams in each division in each half earn playoff berths.
Moss was brilliant over six and two-thirds innings, allowing just two hits and one run with no walks and 11 strikeouts. He retired the first 13 batters of the game and allowed just two of the 22 hitters he faced to reach base. He improved his record to 9-2 on the year and will pitch in the MWL All-Star Game on Tuesday in Midland, Michigan.
Fossas replaced Moss with a runner at first base and two outs in the seventh with the Dragons leading 4-1, and got a strikeout to end that inning. Fossas then worked a perfect eighth inning. Ryan Hendrix tossed the ninth and struck out all three batters he faced for his sixth save.
The Dragons broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning. Brantley Bell singled to start the inning and went to second on James Vasquez’s single. Both runners advanced on Luis Gonzalez’s ground out, and Cassidy Brown followed with a two-run double to the fence in left field to make it 2-0.
Fort Wayne scored in the fifth to make it 2-1, but the Dragons responded in the seventh with a pair of runs. Hector Vargas and T.J. Friedl each had hits to start the inning and Vargas eventually scored on Taylor Trammell’s sacrifice fly. Tyler Stephenson doubled to drive in Friedl and make it 4-1.
The Dragons collected 10 hits. Brown was 2 for 3 with two RBI and Jose Siri had two doubles.
The Dragons improved to 41-27 on the season. The 41 wins matches the second highest victory total in the first half in Dragons history. The 2001 Dragons also won 41 games in the first half. The record is held by the 2007 Dragons with 44 wins.
Up Next: The Dragons battle Fort Wayne again on Saturday in the second game of the series at 7:05 p.m. Wennington Romero (3-3, 3.82) will start for the Dragons against Fort Wayne’s Reggie Lawson (0-3, 5.87).