Contreras Dominates as Dogs Rout Drive in Fourth Straight Win
CHARLESTON, S.C. - A strong start from Roansy Contreras was backed by a pair of home runs by Josh Breaux and Welfrin Mateo as Charleston won its fourth straight game 8-0 Sunday night in front of 4,381 at The Joe. The crowd pushed the Dogs over 300,000 through the Riley Park gates for the third consecutive season in what ended up serving as the final game of the season.
Due to an evacuation order with the impending Hurricane Dorian on its way to the east coast, the contest marks the final game of the 2019 season for the RiverDogs (73-66, 36-33) as the Labor Day finale has been cancelled.
Contreras (12-5, 3.33) was near untouchable in earning his team-leading 12th win of the season, becoming the first RiverDogs pitcher since Grant Duff and Mike Dunn each won 12 games with the 2007 RiverDogs. He allowed a two-out single to Brandon Howlett in the top of the first inning, but induced a groundout from Jordan Wren to end the inning.
The Dogs provided their starter all the run support he would end up needing in the home half of the frame, when Oswald Peraza was hit by a pitch to set the table for designated hitter Josh Breaux. The Texas native crushed an 0-1 offering from Brayan Bello (5-10, 5.43) off the center field batter's eye for his team-leading 13th homer of the year, giving Charleston an early 2-0 lead. Breaux became the fourth hitter this season to homer off the batter's eye, joining Eric Wagaman, Alex Destino and Tyreque Reed in the exclusive club.
Charleston plated two more in the fourth after Contreras worked around a one-out walk in the second, when Eduardo Navas came through with Canaan Smith on second base and Josh Stowers on first, after a double and a walk, respectively. Navas poked a single out to left-center field on the first pitch of his at-bat to drive both of his teammates home and double the Dogs lead.
Smith was also honored as the 2019 'Top Dog' after the final out, finishing his season with a .307/.405/.465 slashline in 124 games this season. He came up short in his bid to become the first Charleston RiverDog to win the batting title, but still finished as the sixth player in Charleston franchise history (circa 1980) to post a .300 average, hit 10 homers and steal at least 10 bags in the same season. He finished the season with 32 doubles, three triples and 11 home runs, while plating 74 runs and accruing 209 total bases.
The support was more than enough for Contreras, who set down the next 14 hitters of the game following the walk to Brannen in the second inning. He finished his night with eight punchouts in six shutout innings, allowing just one hit and one walk in his final start of the season.
Daniel Ramos and Carlos Espinal combined for three innings of three-hit relief, striking out four Drive (56-82, 24-44) hitters to seal the Dogs' eighth shutout win of the season.
The RiverDogs donned the Holy City pinstripes for the last time in 2019 as part of the final MUSC Health Family Sunday of the season. All kids in attendance 12 years old and younger had some fun before the game going onto the field and playing catch with their families, and they enjoyed free food during the game as well. Everyone was able to park free of charge, and the youngsters ran the bases after the final out was recorded to conclude the night of fun at The Joe.
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Charleston RiverDogs catcher Eduardo Navas
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South Atlantic League Stories from September 1, 2019
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