The Charleston RiverDogs scored five runs with two outs in the sixth inning in the second game of a doubleheader to emerge with a split of the twin bill on Saturday night at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park. Lynchburg took the first game by a 9-1 score and the RiverDogs rebounded with an 11-8 victory in the second. The games were played in front of a vocal crowd of 5,520.
In the first game, the RiverDogs (24-16, 70-36) were up against one of the top pitchers in the Carolina League, Will Dion. Yonny Chirinos was on the mound for the Dogs in the third appearance of his rehab assignment. Lynchburg (18-23, 53-54) reached the scoreboard early. In the first inning, Dayan Frias lined a double to left center and scored on an RBI single from Jorge Burgos to give the Hillcats a 1-0 lead. Charleston tied the game in the bottom half with Willy Vasquez’s RBI groundout, but would never reach the board again. Dion worked 5.0 innings and scattered five hits while recording six strikeouts.
The Hillcats grabbed the lead for good in the second inning when Carson Tucker led off with an opposite-field triple and scored on Richard Paz’s groundball to short. Before Chirinos called it a night, Junior Sanquintin added his third home run of the series, a two-run shot to right in the third. Chirinos allowed four runs on six hits in 3.0 innings. Five of the six hits went for extra bases.
Daiveyon Whittle also surrendered four runs in 3.0 innings out of the bullpen. Lynchburg scored two in the fourth, received a two-run home run from Victor Planchart in the sixth and scored one final run against Juan Rivera in the seventh to reach the final score of 9-1.
Burgos finished 3-3 to pace the Hillcats 11-hit attack. Frias and Planchart each added two. Shane Sasaki was 4-4 with three doubles for the RiverDogs, while Junior Caminero provided the remaining two hits.
It was the home team that jumped in front in the second game as the RiverDogs put two on the board in the bottom of the first against Reid Johnston. Sasaki opened the game with a single and immediately scored on a triple from Ryan Spikes. Vasquez made it 2-0 with another RBI groundout.
Christian Johnson blasted the first home run of his professional career in the second inning to stretch the lead to 3-0. Lynchburg’s Jake Fox answered with a two-run blast in the third, cutting the margin to 3-2. In the bottom of the fourth, Julio Meza doubled off of the scoreboard in left field to add one run to the lead and Johnson homered for the second time in as many at-bats to make it 6-2.
That lead proved to be far from safe as Lynchburg used three consecutive extra-base hits and an RBI groundout to trim the lead to 6-5 with one out in the fifth. JJ Goss walked the final batter he faced with two outs before being replaced by Aneudy Cortorreal. The right-hander allowed the runner to advance to second on an errant pickoff throw and then Isaiah Greene moved to third with a stolen base. The tying run scored on a wild pitch. The Hillcats took the lead when the RiverDogs bullpen issued a pair of walks with the bases loaded in the top of the sixth.
Trailing 8-6 in the bottom of the frame, the RiverDogs had a man on second base with two outs against Johnston. Johnson worked a walk to extend the inning and allowed Sasaki to tie the game with his fourth double of the night. Spikes beat out an infield single and then Vasquez put the RiverDogs over the top with a go-ahead triple to left center that scored two. Caminero provided the final run with a single throught the right side. Kamron Fields worked a scoreless seventh to close out the win.
Charleston received two hits each from Sasaki, Spikes, Vasquez, Johnson and Oneill Manzueta. Vasquez and Johnson drove in three runs each. Lynchburg had three hits from Planchart, Cesar Idrogo and Marlin Made.
Goss allowed six runs on seven hits as the starting pitcher. Cortorreal was responsible for two runs after walking four batters in 0.2 innings. Fields collected the win by tossing 1.2 scoreless innings.
The RiverDogs held a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the infamous fight that resulted in a certain boxer biting off more than he could chew on “Bite Night” The first 2,000 fans into the ballpark received an ear-shaped stress ball to commemorate the occasion. Also, when the action on the field concluded, fans swarmed the concourse down the left field line to surround a boxing ring where exhibition matches of the Pillow Fight Championship took place. Throughout the game, children were taught the basics of the sport and participated in practice fights.
The final game of the series will be held on Sunday evening at 5:05 p.m. It’s the penultimate MUSC Health Family Sunday of the season where parking is free and kids can run the bases following the game. It’s also Charlie T. RiverDog’s birthday party with visits from several area mascots. RHP Neraldo Catalina (1-0, 4.54) will open the game on the mound for the RiverDogs. Lynchburg will hand the ball to the game one starter, RHP Alonzo Richardson (1-1, 2.45).
Single-game tickets are available for all RiverDogs home games at riverdogs.com. RiverDogs season tickets, flexible ticket plans, and group tickets, including options to the Segra Club at Riley Park, are available at riverdogs.com/tickets or by contacting the RiverDogs front office at 843-577-3647 (DOGS).
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