In a game that featured only eight total hits, Matt Smith was brilliant on the mound to lead the Danville Dans to a 3-1 victory over the visiting Dupage Dragons on a muggy Thursday evening at Danville Stadium. Smith (2-0) allowed just two hits in six shutout innings while striking out three to pick up the win.
Ryan Van Amburg provided all the support Smith would need with a three-run home run to left field in the bottom of the fourth. Dabo Worthington’s double to left and Nate Johnson’s walk set up Van Amburg’s two-out homer, his first of the season.
The game was scoreless through three innings. After giving up a one-out single in the first inning, Smith retired 11 of the next 12 batters he faced, including seven in a row at one point. Dupage starter Steve Sabatino matched Smith pitch for pitch in the early going, as he gave up just one hit in his first three innings of work.
Despite taking the loss, Sabatino (0-2) was solid on the hill for Dupage. He allowed the three runs on the homer while giving up four hits and striking out two in six innings. Casey Webber relieved Sabatino and threw two scoreless innings to keep the game close.
The only time the Dragons seriously threatened was in the seventh inning, when they picked up their only run on a wild pitch with the bases loaded. But with runners at second and third and one out, Dans reliever Mark Lamm struck out Barrett Serrato and induced a groundout from Brian Riegler to get out of the inning without further damage.
Richie Goodenow pitched a scoreless eighth inning for the Dans, and Aaron Lambrix picked up his first save of the year with a scoreless ninth of his own. The Danville pitchers combined to walk just one Dragon on the night.
Only four players had hits in the contest. Dabo Worthington led the Dans at the plate, as he had three of his team’s four hits, including two doubles. Van Amburg finished 1-for-3 with the home run and three RBIs. Dupage got two hits each from shortstop Grant Fillipitch and left fielder Matthew Mirabal.
With the win, Danville improves to 6-6 and trails division-leading Quincy by three games, pending the Gems’ result Thursday evening. Dupage falls to 5-6 with the loss.