Dayton, OH - The Peoria Chiefs gave up three early runs before storming back to beat the Dayton Dragons 7-4 Friday night. The win clinches the series as the 16-16 Chiefs go for the sweep Saturday night in the final game of a six-game road trip.
Dayton got to work in the first against Chiefs starter Winston Nicacio. Jeter Downs led off with a walk and moved to third on a single by Miles Gordon. Gordon stole second and Michael Beltre gave the Dragons a 2-0 lead with a single to right. Stuart Fairchild was hit by a pitch before the Chiefs turned a 5-3 double play and Ortega threw out Fairchild trying to steal third to end the inning.
The Dragons added to their lead with an unearned run in the third. Gordon singled with one out and came all the way around to score when Jonatan Machado booted a single by Beltre for an error that put Dayton up 3-0.
The Chiefs took the lead with a two-out rally in the fourth against Dayton starter Tyler Mondile. Zach Kirtley reached on a single to start the rally and moved to third on a single by Dennis Ortega. Bryce Denton drove in Kirtley with a double to the Dragons bullpen that the hosts thought was a foul ball. After an umpire conference the play stayed as called with the Chiefs cutting the lead to 3-1. Taylor Bryant gave the Chiefs a 4-3 lead with a towering three-run homer down the left-field line, his first of the season.
The Chiefs added on in the seventh with an unearned run. Edwin Figuera beat out an infield single with outs and Hurst reached on an error. Figuera scored all the way from second on a wild pitch for a 5-3 lead before reliever Tyler Buffett got out of the inning.
Another insurance run crossed the plate in the eighth. Elehuris Montero doubled to start the inning and he moved to third on a groundout. Ortega doubled to left to give the Chiefs a 6-3 lead and then the Chiefs catcher stole third. Buffett bounced back to retire Denton and Bryant to end the inning.
CJ Saylor retired the Dragons in order in the seventh before he ran into trouble in the eighth. Gordon started the inning with a single, Beltre walked and Fairchild's single cut the Chiefs lead to 6-4 with nobody out. Levi MaVorhis took over on the mound and retired the next three batters with a strikeout, a pop-up and a strikeout to keep the Chiefs on top.
The Chiefs got that run back in the ninth against reliever Adrian Chacon. Figuera walked with one out, stole second and moved to third on a single by Hurst. Figuera scored on a wild pitch with two outs to put the Chiefs up 7-4 before Montero struck out to end the inning.
Nicacio (1-1) earned the win as he allowed three runs, two earned, on five hits over six innings. He walked three, hit one and struck out four. Saylor allowed one run on two hits and a walk over one inning as he struck out one. MaVorhis nailed down his first save of the season with two shutout innings as he struck out four, walked one and allowed one hit.
Notes… Hurst has been on base in all 13 games he has played this season…Ortega has four straight multi-hit games…He leads the Chiefs with five steals and he has thrown out 9 of 15 would-be base stealers on the season…The Chiefs have homered in consecutive games after not going deep in the Bowling Green series…The Chiefs hit into two more double plays Thursday and lead the league with 37 hit into this season, including at least one in five straight games…The Chiefs also lead the league with 36 double plays turned…Nicacio leads the league with six hit batters after plunking Fairchild in the first…He turned in his second quality start of the season and matched his season and career high with six innings pitched…MaVorhis has stranded eight of 10 runners inherited this season…The Chiefs have eight saves this season from six different relievers as nobody has more than two…The series and roadtrip conclude Saturday at 7:07 p.m. ET…The Chiefs will start RH Jake Walsh (1-1, 3.60) against Dayton RH Hunter Greene (0-2, 13.97)…Greene was the second overall pick of the 2017 draft and is just 18 years old…The broadcast can be heard, starting with the Pre-Game Show at 5:50 p.m. Central on www.peoriachiefs.com/listenlive and is also available on the Peoria Chiefs Network in the Tune-In Radio App.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.