Rutherford Ropes Go-Ahead Bomb, RiverDogs Rally in Ninth Again to Win
LAKEWOOD, N.J. - For the second straight game, the Charleston RiverDogs trailed heading into the ninth inning but found a way to win. Centerfielder Blake Rutherford cracked a go-ahead two-run homer that lifted the RiverDogs to a 2-1 win over the Lakewood BlueClaws and extended Charleston to a season-high five-game winning streak on Sunday afternoon at FirstEnergy Park.
With two outs and a man on first, the RiverDogs found themselves trailing and down to their final out, just like the night before. The Yankees' first-rounder got a 1-0 pitch he liked, and drove it over the left field wall for the 18th overall pick's second of the season and the fifth of his career.
The game-winning homer was part of a 2-for-4 afternoon for the Simi Valley, Calif. native who extended his hitting streak to a season-high 11 games. The comeback victory marked just fourth time Charleston came back to win a ballgame they trailed after eight innings, and the second in as many games. The five straight road wins is also a season-best run.
Charleston starter Rony Garcia and BlueClaws hurler Adonis Medina were both superb with the young Dominican arms each turning in six shutout frames. The RiverDogs' 19-year-old righty struck out four and allowed just one hit while pitching around three walks in a no-decision effort that lowered his ERA to 1.69 through three starts with Charleston.
Lakewood didn't break open the scoreless tie until the seventh when left fielder David Martinelli roped a leadoff homer to right to make it 1-0 BlueClaws, one of just three hits on the day from the Phillies farm club.
After not being available to pitch on Friday, the BlueClaws called on All-Star closer Will Hibbs to finish the game in the ninth. The right-hander blew just his second save of the year after previously only allowing 11 hits and no home runs through his first 38 2/3 innings. New Jersey native Ben Ruta singled to lead off the ninth frame and start the rally.
David Sosebee picked up his fourth save of the season with a perfect 1-2-3 ninth inning to pin down the victory.
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