Casey Stevenson had two hits, including a go-ahead, three-run double, for the Charleston RiverDogs as they held off the Kannapolis Intimidators 8-5 on Saturday night in South Atlantic League action in front of 4,935 at CMC-NorthEast Stadium.
The win gives Charleston a record of 55-41 (16-13 in the second half) on the season and a chance to earn a split of this four game series with a win tomorrow. Kannapolis is now 45-53 (12-16 in the second half) so far this year.
For the second straight night, the power stroke of Kevan Smith (1-4, HR, 3 RBI, run) put the RiverDogs in a first inning hole. After a pair of walks and a strikeout to start the inning, Smith's second first inning bomb in as many nights, his seventh of the year, made the score 3-0. Charleston starter Bryan Mitchell settled down after a rough first and didn't allow another run in four innings. Ben Paullus (3-1) took over for Mitchell in the fifth and pitched a scoreless inning to keep the deficit at three.
For five innings, Kannapolis starter Chris Devenski held the lead with shutout ball. In the sixth however, the RiverDogs' offense broke out and Devenski was knocked out. Consecutive singles started the inning and a hit batter loaded the bases with nobody out. Daniel Webb (0-6) entered the game in relief, but immediately allowed an RBI single to Dante Bichette, Jr. (3-4, 2 RBI, run). Stevenson (2-4, 3 RBI, run) then struck the big blow, clearing the bases with a double to right to vault Charleston into the lead. After Stevenson moved to third, Francisco Arcia brought in the inning's fifth run with a sacrifice fly to make the score 5-3.
One inning later, the RiverDogs took advantage of some wildness by the Intimidators bullpen to tack on two more runs. Ali Castillo singled to start the inning and moved to second on a wild pitch. An RBI single by Cito Culver followed and Culver proceeded to steal second, take third on another wild pitch and score on a groundout to stretch the lead to four.
Kannapolis shaved a couple runs off the lead in the seventh, thanks to run-scoring singles by Adam Heisler and Joey DeMichele, but that was as close as they would get. Bichette picked up his second RBI with a single in the ninth and Pedro Guerra slammed the door for the RiverDogs with a scoreless eighth and ninth for his fifth save.
The finale of this four game set will be played on Sunday evening, starting at 5:05 pm. The RiverDogs will send LHP Matt Bashore (1-2, 1.95 ERA) out to the mound against Kannapolis's RHP Myles Jaye (3-6, 5.37 ERA).