DAYTON, OH – In his second game back after a month-long injury centerfielder Cameron Maybin drove in five of the Whitecaps six runs in a 6-1 victory over Dayton. West Michigan reduced its magic number to 2 to clinch a playoff berth and to 8 to win the Eastern Division.
Will Rhymes broke a 1-1 tie with a bases loaded RBI single with one out in the top of the ninth for West Michigan. Two batters later Maybin launched a towering grand slam down the left field line to put the game out of reach.
Maybin put the Whitecaps on the board in the first inning when he drove in Rhymes on a one out single for a 1-0 lead.
The lead held until the fifth inning behind starting pitcher Erik Averill, who retired the first eight Dragons batters in the game and went on to throw seven innings with five hits, a run and no walks allowed to go with seven strikeouts.
Robert Manuel made the most of his first opportunity to start for Dayton. He pitched six innings an allowed only the run scored in the first inning for the Whitecaps.
The other five Whitecaps runs came off closer Blake Hendley, who pitched only the ninth inning.
J. D. Reininger hit a home run off Averill in the fifth to tie the game, 1-1.
Anthony Claggett pitched a perfect eighth inning with two strikeouts to pick up the win. Orlando Perdomo closed out the ninth on the hill for the Whitecaps.
Maybin’s 5 RBI matches an individual season high for West Michigan set by Justin Justice on May 2 at Wisconsin. Justice went 3-for-4 on Saturday, including a hit in the ninth.
Rhymes finished 3-for-5 with a double and two runs scored.