Another Early Barrage Holds up as Charleston Takes Series Lead
CHARLESTON, S.C. - The RiverDogs utilized another early offensive onslaught to take the lead in the four game series, downing the Lexington Legends 8-3 Saturday night with 4,539 enthusiastic fans in attendance at Joe Riley Park.
The RiverDogs (50-50, 13-17) plated five runs in the first three innings Friday night in game two, and rode the outburst the rest of the way to a 5-1 win. Saturday night, the Charleston sluggers did one better, plating five markers in the first two innings, including a four-run second.
Frederick Cuevas led off the frame with a single against Lexington (49-49, 12-17) hurler Zach Haake (3-6, 4.11), and immediately swiped second base for just his second stolen bag of the season. Newly promoted catcher Ryan Lidge was next, and he grounded into a productive out to advance Cuevas to third. Eduardo Torrealba followed Lidge with another ground ball, this time to first base, that plated Cuevas to double Charleston's lead.
The RiverDogs weren't done, though, as Brandon Lockridge lined his 26th double of the season to left field to drive Torrealba to third. Canaan Smith plated them both with a single, his second time reaching in as many plate appearances after he walked in the bottom of the first. The knock also gave Smith five RBI in the last two games following his three-run double in the contest Friday night.
Charleston tacked on one more on a double to left field off the bat of Eric Wagaman, his sixth of the season to send Smith home and give Charleston a 5-0 lead. The RiverDogs cracked the scoreboard in the bottom of the first via a sacrifice fly courtesy of Oliver Dunn.
The support was more than enough for Alexander Vizcaino (5-5, 4.41), making his second start of the season against Lexington. The Dominican native struck out the first three hitters he faced in the top of the first, and five of the first nine overall. The Legends didn't earn their first baserunner until Chase Vallot was hit by a pitch to lead off the third. Vizcaino shook off the errant pitch and got out of the inning after fanning Jeison Guzman and inducing a double-play ball off the bat of Rubendy Jaquez.
Haake and Lexington reliever Ted Cillis calmed things down on the mound following the four-run second, keeping Charleston off the scoreboard for the next three innings. Vizcaino matched them pitch-for-pitch, though, throwing 1-2-3 fourth and fifth innings before allowing a pair of tallies in the top of the sixth. He fought through the tough frame to eventually record two more outs in the top of the seventh, surrendering just one more run before being lifted in favor of southpaw Dalton Lehnen.
Overall, Vizcaino finished with 6 2/3 innings under his belt, striking out nine to give him 101 punchouts on the season, good for second on the team to Luis Gil's 112. He allowed three runs, on four hits and two walks, and his outing was his longest by innings since June 5, when the righty went seven strong on the road against the Greensboro Grasshoppers.
Charleston plated three more runs in the sixth and seventh innings, on two RBI singles by Lockridge and Cuevas, as well as a wild play that saw Max Burt steal home and Frederick Cuevas swipe third, contributing to a total of five stolen bags on the night for the Dogs.
Lehnen provided 2 1/3 solid innings of relief to seal the Saturday night win and give the Dogs two wins in the same series for the first time since July 4-7 against the Greenville Drive at Fluor Field.
In honor of the Apollo 11 mission that put the first humans on the moon on July 20, 1969, the RiverDogs celebrated the accomplishment with Moon Landing Night at the ballpark. Fans received commemorative t-shirts on the way in, and everyone took part in Moon trivia throughout the game. Moon pies were also available to fans, and during the seventh inning stretch, those in attendance simultaneously "landed on their moon" to create the world's largest moon landing.
Before it hits the road to take on the Lakewood BlueClaws later this week, Charleston concludes is four-game homestand with the series finale against Lexington Sunday evening. The RiverDogs' poster child for consistency Harold Cortijo (4-1, 1.88) will take the mound, making his eighth start of the season. The righty has gone at least five innings with no more than two runs allowed in each of his first six starts, so Charleston will be looking for another strong outing from the 20-year-old Puerto Rican to hit the road on a high note. The Legends will send righty Jon Heasley (7-4, 2.90) in opposition for his second start of the season against the RiverDogs with first pitch scheduled for 5:05 p.m.
For those who can't make it to Riley Park, catch the game on MyTV Charleston as Matt Dean is joined by ABC News 4's Scott Eiseberg for the call (Channel 36 over air) along with the radio call on WTMA 1250 AM in the tri-county area, online streaming on the TuneIn Radio app and on MiLB.tv with a subscription. Fans can "Make Fun" with the RiverDogs all season long down at The Joe. Single-game tickets, including options to the Riley Park Club, are available at riverdogs.com/tickets or by contacting the RiverDogs front office at 843-577-3647 (DOGS). A full schedule and list of game times for the 2019 season is available at riverdogs.com.
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