RiverDogs Fall Short of Four-Game Sweep
HICKORY, N.C. - After two straight nights of comeback wins in the eighth inning, the RiverDogs couldn't capitalize on a litany of chances late Sunday evening as they dropped a 2-1 series finale to come up short of a four-game series sweep of the Crawdads at L.P. Frans Stadium.
Harold Cortijo (L, 4-3) and Aaron McGarity combined to hold Hickory (69-45, 28-20) to just two total hits in a losing effort. Despite battling at times with his command, Cortijo gave the RiverDogs (61-58, 24-25) five solid innings, working around four walks to allow just the pair of runs.
In the second, center fielder Miguel Aparicio tallied a leadoff double and scampered up to third on a wild pitch before scoring on an errant pickoff throw by Cortijo to make it 1-0 Crawdads.
After failing to score with the bases loaded and just one out, the RiverDogs found themselves in the same position just an inning later in the fourth after a pair of walks issued by Tyree Thompson (W, 5-7) and a ground ball single by second baseman Eduardo Torrealba. Center fielder Brandon Lockridge barreled one up to left field that Ryan Anderson ran down to tie the game on a sac fly. In the next at-bat, Oswald Peraza drove the second pitch he saw to deep left-center but Aparicio ran it down for an impressive over-the-shoulder catch that likely saved a pair of runs to end the inning. Hickory retook the lead in the bottom of the inning after Aparicio then reached on a leadoff free pass and later scored on Pedro Gonzalez's sac fly.
The Holy City's next best chance didn't come until the ninth when catcher Eduardo Navas grounded one back up the box to cap his first three-hit performance of the year, followed by a flair single to center from Torrealba to put two on with one out. Lockridge would take a questionable strike three down in the zone before Peraza put a 3-2 pitch into play on a check swing back to the mound to end the contest. Nick Snyder danced around the late trouble to finish off his sixth save.
Reliever Aaron McGarity returned to the mound with the RiverDogs for the first time since June 20, also an outing in Hickory, and kept the RiverDogs in the game with three innings of relief while striking out six of 10 batters faced after a dominant stretch of allowing just two runs in 21 2/3 innings after a reassignment to Staten Island.
With another solid outing, Cortijo has now gone at least five innings and allowed no more than two runs in nine of 11 starts with Charleston.
The RiverDogs still finished the road trip 3-1 on the weekend to win their third straight series. They remain three games out of first-place Augusta heading into play Monday.
Following the four-day road swing in Hickory, the RiverDogs return home for a brief series at The Joe, opening up a three-game set with the Columbia Fireflies on Monday night at Riley Park. Jhony Brito (5-3, 3.57) will take the ball for Charleston in the opener. The Dominican-born righty has won his last two starts, despite giving up six runs across five frames in his last start in the past week's Monday contest against Delmarva at Riley Park. It will be Brito's first start against the Mets affiliate this year after giving up three runs in 10 innings in relief against Charleston's closets in-state rival. Columbia will throw righty Daison Acosta (1-2, 3.91) in opposition. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. on a Monday Dog Day at The Joe, featuring dollar hot dogs and Busch Lights.
For those that can't make it to Riley Park, catch the game on WTMA 1250 AM in the tri-county area and 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 are available at riverdogs.com.
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