The Charleston RiverDogs got off to an early 6-0 and held off a furious rally by the Greensboro Grasshoppers to pull out an 8-5 victory and even the series at a game apiece on Thursday evening at NewBridge Bank Park in South Atlantic League action.
With the win, the RiverDogs improve to 13-11 in the second half and 52-40 overall. With the loss, the Grasshoppers drop to 13-13 in the second half and 46-49 overall.
The Charleston RiverDogs offense struck for four runs in the third inning that was capped off by a two-run homer by Dante Bichette, Jr, hi eighth of the season.
RiverDogs starter Cesar Vargas was dealing Wednesday as he tossed three strong innings of no-hit ball while striking out one.
Unfortunately, then the rains came. After a 58-minute delay, the RiverDogs and Grasshoppers resumed play. Following the pause, it was a couple of uneventful fourth and fifth innings, but both offenses woke up in the sixth inning.
Reymond Nunez led off the sixth with a solo homer to give the ‘Dogs a 5-0 cushion. After Nunez, Jake Cave was able to draw a walk and then advanced to second base on a wild pitch. Following a groundout by Kelvin De Leon which advanced Cave to third, he would then come around to score on an RBI single by Aaron Gates.
Charleston's final two runs came off the bat of Angelo Gumbs who hit a two-run homer in the top of the ninth inning off Chipper Smith for his third round-tripper of the year.
Offensively the RiverDogs were led by Angelo Gumbs, Jake Cave and Aaron Gates who reached base three times each. Gumbs was 2-for-5 at the plate with a single, a two-run homer and three RBI's. Cave finished 1-for-2 at the plate with a pair of walks and a run scored while Gates went 2-for-3 with two singles, a hit-by-pitch and an RBI.
RiverDogs starter Cesar Vargas combined with reliever James Pazos to toss five shutout no-hit innings. Pazos (3-1) picked up the win with his scoreless two frames of work. Tyler Webb relieved Pazos to start the sixth and struggled as he allowed five runs on four hits while striking out two and walking one. Ben Paullus was called upon to get the final six outs en route to his seventh save of the season.
The bottom of the sixth inning signified the Grasshoppers comeback. Greensboro sent seven men to the plate and scored four times on three hits with a hit by pitch. The fifth and final run came across in the bottom of the seventh on a Blake Barber solo home run. Barber finished his evening 2-for-3 with a double, homer, two runs scored and an RBI.
Greensboro starter Chad James (1-3) took the loss as he lasted 3.1 innings that saw him allow four runs on four hits while striking out three and walking three. Blake Logan relieved James and allowed two runs on three hits in his 2.2 innings of work. Matt Milroy tossed a scoreless two frames and allowed just one hit and struckout one. Chipper Smith pitched the ninth and allowed two runs with three strikeouts.
The rubber match of this three game series against the Grasshoppers is scheduled for 7pm Friday at NewBridge Bank Park in Greensboro. Charleston sends LHP Evan Rutckyj (7-6, 4.79 ERA) to the mound as Greensboro counters with RHP Daniel Oliver (2-2, 4.42 ERA) in the finale. You can listen to the game live locally on ESPN 910 AM or online at www.riverdogs.com.