By: Riverdogs Media
The Charleston RiverDogs swept a doubleheader from the Columbia Fireflies on Wednesday night at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park. In game one, Alika Williams drove in the winning run with a sharp single through the left side in the bottom of the seventh for a 5-4 victory and in the nightcap, Joe LaSorsa struck out back-to-back hitters with the bases loaded to secure a 6-3 win. The games were played in front of 2,210 fans.
In the opening game, the final frame began with the score tied 4-4. Beau Brundage worked a leadoff walk and was moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Johan Lopez. During a Michael Berglund at-bat that ended in a walk, a wild pitch allowed Brundage to advance to third base. Columbia intentionally walked Osleivis Basabe to load the bases for Williams, the RiverDogs hottest hitter. The shortstop poked a single through the left side to plate winning run and also extended his hitting streak to 14 games in the process. That streak became the longest of the season for a RiverDogs player.
Both Ben Brecht of the RiverDogs (65-27) and Emilio Marquez of the Fireflies (43-49) were perfect through the first three innings of the contest. Brecht worked around two walks in the fourth, but Marquez wasn’t as fortunate. Following two bases on balls, Patrick Merino blasted a monster home run to left field to give the RiverDogs a 3-0 lead. The home run was his second with the RiverDogs.
The lead disappeared in surprising fashion in the top of the next inning. Hector Figueroa retired the first two hitters he faced and with two outs and nobody on base in the fifth inning, the Fireflies remained hitless in the game. However, Figueroa walked Jose Marquez and both Matt Schmidt and Diego Hernandez followed with singles, the second of which drove in a run. Tyler Tolbert worked a walk to load the bases for Darryl Collins. The three-hitter came up big by driving a ball over the head of Brundage in center field for a three-run triple that gave Columbia a 4-3 lead.
The RiverDogs bounced back to tie it up in the bottom of the fifth when Lopez was hit by a pitch and Michael Berglund and Basabe followed with singles to even the score at 4-4. A scoreless sixth inning set the stage for Williams to win it in the seventh.
The teams combined for nine hits in the contest and the only player with multiple hits was Columbia’s Diego Hernandez at the top of the order.
Brecht worked 4.0 scoreless, hitless, innings and struck out a pair. Figueroa allowed four runs on three hits and two walks in 1.0 inning and Andrew Gross earned the win by pitching 2.0 scoreless innings to close the game.
The second game entered the final frame with the RiverDogs holding a 6-2 advantage. Burle Dixon opened the inning with a double for Columbia, Tolbert was hit by a pitch and Collins hit a groundball that rolled through the legs of Tanner Murray at second base for an error. Following a strikeout of Juan Carlos Negret, Joe LasSorsa walked Saul Garza to load the bases. The free pass put the tying run at first base with only one out. At that point, LaSorsa dug in to strike out both Herard Gonzalez and Gage Hughes to end the game. The southpaw earned the save by working the final 2.0 innings.
The RiverDogs initially led the game 2-0 with Brundage driving in the first run on an RBI single in the second inning and a three-base error by Dixon setting the stage for a double play groundball off Murray’s bat to drive in Williams from third in the third.
Columbia used a bases loaded walk to Gonzalez in the fourth inning to halve the lead, but Charleston bounced back with two runs in the in the home half. Alexander Ovalles launched a solo home run to grow the lead back to two and Williams tacked on another run with an RBI single to push the lead to 4-1.
A wild pitch with the bases loaded allowed the Fireflies to draw within 4-2, but once more, the RiverDogs had an answer. A fielder’s choice RBI from Brundage in the fifth made it 5-2 and Diego Infante’s RBI groundout in the sixth sent the game to the final frame with the home team in front 6-2.
Franklin Dacosta, the RiverDogs starter, worked 3.2 innings and allowed one run on three hits while striking out six. Audry Lugo earned the win as the first man out of the bullpen, giving up just one unearned run in 1.1 innings.
At the plate, the RiverDogs outhit Columbia 8-7. Brundage led the way with two hits and Williams singled to extend his hitting streak to 15 games. Dixon was the only member of the Fireflies lineup to register multiple hits.
The Charleston RiverDogs turned back the clock and played as the Charleston Rainbows in the second game of the doubleheader on Pride Night. Charleston’s baseball club played under the Rainbows name from 1985-1993. Throughout the evening, the jerseys were auctioned off with the winners taking home the retro uniforms from off of their favorite players. The auction benefitted Charleston Pride.
The series will resume with game four on Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. On a Budweiser Thirsty Thursday, $1 beers will be available throughout the park. RHP Sandy Gaston (0-0, 3.38) will take the mound for the RiverDogs with RHP Anderson Paulino (6-4, 4.41) countering for Columbia.
Playoff tickets for the Low-A East Championship Series in September are on sale now at riverdogs.com. For a limited time, fans who purchase tickets to the team’s first home playoff game will receive all subsequent home games for free. Purchase playoff tickets here.
All RiverDogs games are broadcast worldwide on riverdogs.com. A television broadcast of all 60 home games during the 2021 season will also be available via MiLB.TV. Games are also available on the MiLB First Pitch app.
RiverDogs season tickets, flexible ticket plans, and group tickets, including options to the Segra Club at Riley Park, are now available for the 2021 campaign at riverdogs.com/tickets or by contacting the RiverDogs front office at 843-577-3647 (DOGS). A full schedule for the 2021 season is available at riverdogs.com.
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