Navas' Career Night Not Enough as RiverDogs' Playoff Chances Dwindle
ASHEVILLE, N.C. - With their playoff odds hanging in the balance, the RiverDogs brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth with hopes of an improbable comeback on the horizon but came up short of their third straight win. The first-place Tourists staved off a second straight Charleston rally as the RiverDogs fell 8-5 on Wednesday night at McCormick Field.
Following a night in which they overcame a 5-0 deficit, Charleston (69-66, 32-33) found themselves within striking distance late thanks to a tremendous night from their catcher Eduardo Navas. The fourth year RiverDog belted two home runs to right for his first career multi-home run game, including a solo blast in the final frame that pulled the Dogs within three. The 23-year-old, Venezuelan product had only hit two home runs in an entire season once prior, in 2018 during his third season with the Holy City. The pair of home runs were his first two of the season; he had last gone yard on August 16, 2018. He tallied three hits for the second time this year to match a season high.
Following Navas' second of the game, Eduardo Torrealba flew out to center for the second out of the inning. The next two hitters, Brandon Lockridge and Oswald Peraza, each brought Charleston down to their final strike but drew walks to bring Josh Breaux to the plate. The designated hitter laced a sharp one-hopper back to the mound on the first pitch he saw from P.J. Poulin, who recorded just the final out of the game to pin down his 11th save.
The loss pushes the RiverDogs an improbable four games back with just five left to play, making Thursday night's series finale an elimination game for their playoff chances.
For the third straight night, the RiverDogs sent a 19-year-old to the mound to start in Asheville but Yoendrys Gomez (L, 0-3) did not find the same success as his fellow teenage products who earned the win the previous two nights. The Tourists (65-60, 36-29) hit around the Yankees' No. 8 prospect (MLB.com) to the tune of seven runs (all earned) on eight hits, both career-highs. The Venezuela native lasted just four innings largely due to a lengthy second inning when Cade Harris pulled an 0-1 offering over the right-field wall for a three-run homer. The right fielder's seventh homer of the year made it 4-0 Tourists after two.
The Dogs answered back with Navas' leadoff bomb in the third and notched another in the fourth when Breaux's leadoff double came around to score on an Eric Wagaman RBI single with two outs.
The Rockies affiliate tagged Gomez for three more in the fourth, capped by a Niko Decolati two-run single. The Asheville centerfielder finished the night 3-for-5, adding a run-scoring triple in the sixth and finishing the evening with three RBI.
With their playoff hopes hanging in the balance, the RiverDogs wrap up their final road trip of the season on Thursday night at McCormick Field. Right-hander Charlie Ruegger (2-3, 8.12) gets the ball in the finale for the RiverDogs. After allowing 18 runs over a two-start span, including being chased in the second inning on August 16 in Asheville two starts ago, the New Jersey native bounced back to yield a pair of runs over four innings last Friday against Kannapolis. The Tourists will counter with sinker-baller Jake Bird (7-2, 3.33). The product out of UCLA faced Charleston two outings ago, coughing up five runs over 5 2/3 frames. The dextral hurler has allowed 12 earned runs over his last four starts spanning 19 innings (5.68 ERA) after producing a 2.71 ERA over his first 35 appearances to start the season with Asheville. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m.
Catch the game on WTMA 1250 AM in the tri-county area and online streaming on the TuneIn Radio app. 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 are available at riverdogs.com.
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