The Kannapolis Intimidators took the opener of their four game series from the Charleston RiverDogs by a final score of 7-4 in front of 1,762 at CMC-NorthEast Stadium on Thursday night in South Atlantic League action. Charleston is now 15-12 in the second half (54-40) with the loss, and Kannapolis advanced to 11-15 in the second half (44-52 overall).
Ali Castillo (1-2, single, three walks, two runs, stolen base) led off the game for the RiverDogs with a walk, and scored the first run of the game from first base on a double to left center by Cito Culver (2-5, two doubles) that the left fielder Grant Buckner made a throwing error on. Kannapolis would not be held down for long however.
In the bottom of the second inning, the Intimidators got a two out rally going with a walk, double, single, and a triple to plate three runs and take a 3-1 lead. Castillo scored another run for Charleston in the top of the third inning on a sacrifice fly to left field by Ben Gamel (1-4, double, two RBI) to cut the Kannapolis lead to 3-2. The Intimidators bounced right back though plating three more runs in the bottom half of the third inning, the big blast a two-run, two RBI double by Martin Medina (2-4, two double, three RBI).
After the first two batters in the 7th inning were retired, three straight doubles by Culver, Gamel, and Tyson Blaser (3-5, double, RBI), and a walk to Rob Refsnyder brought the tying run to the plate for Charleston. Kannapolis brought in a new reliever though, and Dustin Umberger struck out Dante Bichette, Jr. to end the inning and keep it 7-4 Intimidators. Umberger got the final seven outs only allowing one hit and fanning five to collect his second save of the year.
The bottom three batters in the order drove in five runs, and scored four of their own for the Intimidators. Bill Rice was 3-4 with two runs scored and an RBI, and made a couple nice defensive plays in left field for Kannapolis.
Philip Wetherell (4-3) started his first game as a professional and earned the loss. He allowed four hits, five hits, and three walks in 2.1 innings of work for Charleston. Will Oliver came on in relief and gave up three hits, three runs, and struck out five in 3.2 innings. Mariel Checo and Fred Lewis each pitched a scoreless inning as well for the RiverDogs. Scott Snodgress started for the Intimidators and gave up two runs in a season short three innings of work. Jeff Soptic was the winning pitcher tossing two scoreless innings of four strikeout, one hit baseball to move to 2-1 on the year.
Both teams will be back at it on Friday night in Kannapolis with RHP Scottie Allen (3-5, 4.74 ERA) on the mound for Charleston, and LHP Matthew Lane (2-3, 6.22 ERA) throwing for the Intimidators. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 ET.