Late Error Ignites Augusta Rally as Dogs Fall in Extras
CHARLESTON, S.C. - A late rally led by center fielder Brandon Lockridge fell short Saturday night, as Charleston fell to the Augusta GreenJackets in extra innings for the second straight night, this time 6-4 in front of 5,920 at Joe Riley Park.
Augusta (21-20) made the most of their runner placed on second base to start the top of the 11th, as a single by Francisco Tostado and Diego Rincones reaching by way of being hit by Charleston (23-19) reliever Jefry Valdez (1-2, 0.90) set up a golden scoring chance for Jacob Gonzalez.
Gonzalez came through, dropping a bloop single into shallow left-center field to plate Shane Matheny, who started the inning on second base, putting Augusta on top 5-4. Another run came across when Valdez uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Tostado to dash home.
The loss marked the RiverDogs' fourth defeat in the extra innings this year, three times now against the GreenJackets. Charleston left 14 men stranded on the bases in the contest, matching a season-high.
The deciding inning came on the heels of phenomenal work by Charleston's bullpen after another brief start by flamethrower Luis Medina.
The GreenJackets ambushed Medina in the first inning, sending nine men to the plate and scoring four times on the strength of three walks, two RBI singles and a two-run double by Andres Angulo. After Medina struck out Nico Giarratano to bring a merciful end to the inning, he had thrown 35 pitches.
Augusta's 6'11" starter Sean Hjelle worked around a pair of singles by Canaan Smith and Josh Breaux in the bottom of the inning to keep Charleston off the board.
The RiverDogs scratched and clawed their way back into the game in the third and fourth innings, plating one on a fielding error by Matheny at third base, and two more on RBI singles by Max Burt and Brandon Lockridge to cut the Augusta lead to 4-3.
Medina settled down after the laborious first inning, preventing Augusta from scoring for the next three innings before again running into trouble in the fifth. A leadoff single by Mikey Edie, followed immediately by a four pitch walk to Shane Matheny had Medina on the ropes, and after a long flyout by Tostado advanced the runners to second and third, interim manager Jody Reed had seen enough. Reed called upon Pedro Espinola to relieve Medina, and Espinola tightroped his way out of the jam, keeping the score where it was and finishing his night with 3.0 perfect frames before leaving with discomfort in the top of the eighth. The Dominican right-hander struck out four over the three flawless frames in his Dogs debut.
Brandon Lockridge again was at the heart of the rally that tied the game, sending Max Burt home on his 12th double of the season to get Medina off the hook.
From there, the battle of the bullpens raged on, keeping the contest deadlocked at 4 until the top of the 11th inning. Valdez, in his fourth inning of work, finally ran out of gas, eventually allowing the game-winning hit to Gonzalez.
It's the Moors! No, Moops! Moors! Moops! The RiverDogs paid tribute to this classic Seinfeld scene for Moops Night at Joe Riley Park Saturday night, complete with one-of-a-kind "Charleston Moops" jerseys. In honor of the 40th anniversary of Trivial Pursuit, fans had plenty of fun activities to choose from, including photo opportunities with the Moops, trivia about other famous misspellings, and more. Fans had the chance to own a piece of history as well, as the custom-made jerseys were made available via online auction.
The Dogs continue their four-game set against the Augusta GreenJackets, sending Roansy Contreras (3-2, 5.29) to the mound in the penultimate game of the series before hitting the road next week. Contreras is looking turn the page on his last start, when he allowed seven runs in just 2.1 innings against the Hickory Crawdads last Monday. Looking to lead the GreenJackets to a series win will be Keaton Winn (2-2, 3.69). Winn lived up to his name in his last start, defeating the Columbia Fireflies last Tuesday with six innings of two-run ball, striking out four. First pitch is set for 5:05 p.m. on a MUSC Health Family Sunday in the Holy City, featuring free admission for members of the MUSC Children's Health Kid's Club (12 and under).
For those who can't make it to Riley Park, catch the game on WTMA 1250 AM in the tri-county area, online streaming on the TuneIn Radio app and on MyTV Charleston, Channel 36 over air in the Lowcountry. 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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