Dante Bichette, Jr. (2-4, 2 RBI) led the Charleston RiverDogs' offense in a 5-1 victory over the Kannapolis Intimidators Friday night in South Atlantic League action at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park in front of 4,639 fans. The RiverDogs (11-10) remain in fourth place in the Southern Division, while the Intimidators (10-12) stay in fifth place in the Northern Division.
Micah Johnson led off the game for the Intimidators with an infield single. He then picked up his 18th and 19th stolen bases of the season by stealing second and third. A wild pitch by Cesar Vargas scored Johnson to make the score 1-0.
The RiverDogs answered with a run of their own in the bottom half of the inning. Jake Cave singled to center and advanced to second on a fly ball out to right. He then went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a Greg Bird sacrifice fly to left.
Francisco Rosario began the bottom of the third inning with a single, his first hit as a RiverDog. He then moved to second on a fielder's choice. After a Cito Culver walk, Rosario stole third and scored the second RiverDogs' run as Kannapolis third baseman Patrick Palmeiro was unable to corral the throw. A Dante Bichette, Jr. single then scored Culver from second base making the score 3-1.
RiverDogs' starting pitcher Cesar Vargas was relieved in the fifth inning by Brett Gerritse (2-1). Vargas pitched 4.2 innings, allowed one run, five hits, struck out two batters and was not a factor in the decision.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Kannapolis errors by the second baseman and shortstop gave the RiverDogs runners on first and third with one out and Bichette at the plate. For the second time in the game, Bichette drove in Culver with a single to extend the Charleston lead to 4-1.
After five innings of work, Intimidators starting pitcher Euclides Leyer (1-3) was relieved by Storm Throne. Leyer allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits, struck out seven batters, and picked up his third loss of the season.
Charleston picked up another run in the bottom of the sixth inning. Nick McCoy singled to center field and later scored on an RBI double by Culver.
Dietrich Enns entered the game in the top of the eighth inning in relief of Gerritse. In 2.1 innings, Gerritse allowed no runs, one hit, struck out two batters and earned his second victory of the year.
BALLPARK FUN: It was the first ever Jazz Night at The Joe as The Swinging Bandits of the Jazz Artists of Charleston performed the National Anthem and also played at various times throughout the night. Plus, there was a Piggly Wiggly Postgame Fireworks display.
COMING UP: The second game of this four-game series against the Kannapolis Intimidators is Saturday evening at 6:05. RHP Rafael DePaula (0-2, 3.63 ERA) will be on the mound for Charleston and will face RHP Brendan Brennan (1-2, 5.24 ERA) for the Intimidators.