Stowers' Longball Not Enough to Mount RiverDogs Comeback
HICKORY, N.C. - Designated hitter Josh Stowers connected on his sixth home run of the season to pull the RiverDogs within a run in the sixth, but the Hickory Crawdads added insurance to erase the late marker and take a series-clinching victory by the final of 5-3 on Sunday evening at L.P. Frans Stadium.
Stowers' home run marked the first solid contact that the Louisville product made in three games back from an injury. The former second rounder finished the series 2-for-10 with a walk as he worked to get his timing back after three weeks on Charleston's injured list.
The RiverDogs' (38-36, 1-3) Roansy Contreras (5-4) and Rangers No. 1 overall prospect Hans Crouse were locked in a pitcher's duel early, with both teams failing to break through until the bottom of the fourth. With one out, right fielder Pedro Gonzalez lined a double into left, later advancing on a wild pitch and scoring on third baseman Frainyer Chavez's sac fly to make it 1-0 Crawdads (44-26, 3-1).
Charleston' answered right back in the fifth to plate a pair and take the lead. Third baseman Matt Pita cashed in on a leadoff walk issued by reliever Grant Wolfram (2-2), drilling the first pitch he saw down the left field line for a double that scored Max Burt. Center fielder Brandon Lockridge followed two pitches later with a ground ball single up the middle to make it a 2-1 RiverDogs lead.
Hickory found themselves back in front as Contreras ran out of gas on the hill for the Dogs and was knocked out after recording just one out in the frame. After Kole Enright flied out to begin the inning, the Crawdads collected three straight hits, capped by a run-scoring single from Jax Biggers and a double off the right field wall by first baseman Tyreque Reed to chase the RiverDogs starter and give the Crawdads a lead they would not relinquish.
Tanner Myatt came on in relief and issued a walk and a single to Gonzalez to see the lead run to 4-2 for the 'Dads. The inherited run was charged to Contreras, who finished allowing four runs, all earned, in 4 1/3 innings, marking his second straight start of at least four runs allowed in fewer than five innings for the 19-year-old in Hickory this season.
After Stowers' long ball brought Charleston back within a run, the Crawdads notched another with back-to-back hits off Jefry Valdez in the eighth for a two-run cushion. Right-hander Jesus Linarez blanked the RiverDogs over the final 2 2/3 innings to finish off the series win.
The RiverDogs head to Rome, Georgia for the second stop of their weeklong road trip following the All-Star break. Right-hander Alexander Vizcaino (3-2, 3.19) will make his first start since appearing in Tuesday's South Atlantic League All-Star Game. Charleston most recently traveled to Rome from May 17-19, dropping two of the three games by one-run at State Mutual Stadium in their final road games of the first-half. First pitch on Monday night is at 7 p.m.
Catch the game on WTMA 1250 AM in the tri-county area as well as 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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South Atlantic League Stories from June 23, 2019
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