Dayton, OH – The Peoria Chiefs fell behind early but rallied for their fourth straight win and a sweep of the Dayton Dragons with a 4-3 Saturday night victory. The win moves the Chiefs back over .500 at 17-16 heading into a league-wide off day.
Dayton jumped out to an early lead against Chiefs starter Jake Walsh. Miles Gordon drew a lead off walk and Andy Sugilio launched a two-run homer to right field. The Dragons added on in the second when Jeter Downs hit a solo homer to left for a 3-0 lead. Walsh settled in and didn’t give up another hit until the seventh inning.
Eighteen year-old Hunter Greene, the second overall pick of last June’s draft, kept the Chiefs off the board over a career-high four innings for the Dragons. He struck out five and allowed just two singles while registering as high as 101 MPH on the radar gun.
As Walsh cruised through the middle innings the Chiefs offense got going against the Dayton bullpen. Taylor Bryant doubled off Wendolyn Bautsita in the sixth and came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Scott Hurst to get the Chiefs on the board.
In the seventh Yariel Gonzalez led off with a single and moved to second as Dennis Ortega singled with one out. Ryan Nutof took over on the mound and the Chiefs loaded the bases on a single by Bryce Denton. A wild pitch scored Gonzalez and Nutof walked Bryant to re-load the bases. Edwin Figuera beat out an infield single to score Ortega and tie the game but the Chiefs shortstop had to leave the game with an injured ankle after stepping on the leg of the Dragons first baseman. With the game tied and Elehuris Montero running at first, Hurst struck out to end the inning.
Walsh retired one batter in the eighth before leaving with two on base and the game tied. Noel Gonzalez came on and got a pop-up and a strikeout to strand two runners.
The Chiefs didn’t hit the ball out of the infield in the ninth but took the lead against Dragons closer John Ghyzel. Denton reached on an infield single to third and Nick Plummer was safe at first on an error while attempting to sacrifice. Bryant bunted both runners up one base and Denton scored on a wild pitch to give the Chiefs a 4-3 lead. Dayton put the tying run on base to start the ninth but Bryan Dobzanski retired the next three batters to earn his second save of the season.
Walsh took a no-decision with a career-high 7 1/3 innings. He allowed three runs on four hits and three walks while striking out five. Gonzalez (1-0) earned the win by retiring both batters he faced, with one strikeout. Dobzanski walked one and struck out one in his scoreless inning.
Notes… Hurst’s 13 game on-base streak ended…Gonzalez has a seven-game hit streak…The Chiefs have 12 quality starts…Peoria has 10 comeback wins, including four in a row…The Chiefs are 6-5 in one-run games…Peoria is 15-4 when allowing four runs or less…The Chiefs have tied a season-high with four straight wins…Walsh bettered his career high from Sunday in innings pitched by 1/3 of an inning…He threw a career-high 106 pitches…Figuera has six multi-hit games…The Chiefs last sweep on the road against an Eastern Division team was April 14-16 at Lake County…The Chiefs won a series in Dayton for the first time since 2015 and won their first road series of more than one game this season…Peoria has swept Dayton in two of the last three seasons…The Chiefs went 7-5 against the East Division in the first half and will not face the East again until July…The entire Midwest League is off on Sunday for Mother’s Day…The Chiefs will host Clinton at 6:30 p.m. Monday with Half-Price tickets and Movie Monday featuring audio/video clips and trivia from the 80s classic Goonies…The Chiefs will start Cardinals rehab RHP Alex Reyes (0-0, 0.00) who pitched for the Chiefs in 2014 and is the first former Chiefs player to return on a MLB rehab since Joe Girardi did so in 2003 as a Cardinals catcher.