Dayton Dragons third baseman Juan Martinez tags Wisconsin Timber Rattlers second baseman Korry Howell during their game on Thursday night at Fifth Third Field. Howell was safe on the play and the Timber Rattlers won 1-0. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY MICHAEL COOPER

Dragons threaten late, but fall to Timber Rattlers, 1-0

A sacrifice fly from Wisconsin’s Yeison Coca in the sixth inning scored the lone run as the Timber Rattlers beat the Dayton Dragons 1-0 on Thursday night in front of 8,208 spectators at Fifth Third Field.

Dayton catcher Jay Schuyler reached base four times, going 3-for-3 with a walk, and shortstop Miguel Hernandez went 2-for-4 for the Dragons.

Dayton (37-52 overall) fell to 8-12 in the second half and sits 6.5 games back of first-place Bowling Green (14-5).

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The Dragons went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position, leaving nine runners on base as a team, including four in the final two innings.

“It was a good game, but it was a tough one for us,” said Dragons manager Luis Bolivar.

Dayton Dragons third baseman Juan Martinez fields a bunt during their game against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers on Thursday night at Fifth Third Field. The Timber Rattlers won 1-0. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY MICHAEL COOPER

Three Timber Rattlers pitchers combined for an eight-hit shutout — the fourth time the Dragons have been held scoreless in July. Wisconsin starter Max Lazar threw five scoreless innings, striking out five. Relievers Justin Jarvis and Victor Castenada each threw two scoreless innings to preserve the victory.

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Dragons starter Jhon De Jesus had one of his best outings, allowing one earned run on five hits with three strikeouts in six innings. Right-hander Clate Schmidt, making his first appearance since being assigned from Daytona, tossed three scoreless innings, striking out five.

“They did a great job,” Bolivar said. “It was the first time that Schmidt’s been here. They both did a great job to keep us in the game, we just weren’t able to get a guy in or get a big hit.”

The lone run came in the sixth inning. Wisconsin’s Connor McVey and Korry Howell hit back-to-back singles to start the inning and moved into scoring position on a bunt base hit by Jesus Lujano. Coca sent the next pitch into left field, scoring McVey from third.

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Dayton’s Claudio Finol singled to open the eighth inning and Michael Siani reached base on a throwing error by Castanada on a sacrifice bunt attempt. Miles Gordon attempted to move the runners on a sac bunt, but McVey charged the ball and was able to force out Finol at third base.

Dayton Dragons pitcher Clate Schmidt motions to the plate during their game against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers on Thursday night at Fifth Third Field. Schmidt threw three scoreless innings, striking out five batters, but the Timber Rattlers won 1-0. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY MICHAEL COOPER

“He was there, he was expecting it,” Bolivar said. “They made a good play on us. It’s a tough one, but we’re trying to get two guys in scoring position, it just didn’t work out that time.”

The next batter Randy Ventura moved the runners on a ground out to Castanada, but Pabel Manzanero flew out to McVey to end the threat.

With two outs in the ninth inning, Schuyler and Hernandez each singled and moved to second and third on a wild pitch, but Finol grounded out to Castanada to end the game.

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“We put ourselves in position to win the game,” Bolivar said. “We weren’t able to get a big hit. They fought for it and never gave up.”

• The Dragons will host another Midwest League Western Division squad for a three-game series starting Saturday.

Alexis Diaz (6-4, 5.68 ERA) will start against Beloit’s Angello Infante (0-1, 5.54 ERA) at 7 p.m. Saturday. Ricky Salinas (4-3, 3.59), recently named the Cincinnati Reds Minor League Pitcher of the Month for June, will start against Beloit’s Chase Cohen (4-8, 5.75 ERA) at 2 p.m. Sunday. Both Saturday and Sunday’s games will be televised on Dayton’s CW (Ch. 26).

On Monday, Dayton’s Eduardo Salazar will start against Beloit’s Aiden McIntyre (2.6, 4.82).

The Dragons will then leave on a six-game road trip to Quad Cities (July 17-19) and Kane County (July 20-22). They return home for a three-game series against Great Lakes from July 24-26.

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