The Charleston RiverDogs bashed three big homers to top the Hickory Crawdads 8-4 on Monday night in South Atlantic League play at L.P. Frans Stadium in Hickory. The win is Charleston's fifth consecutive victory.
The RiverDogs remain in second place in the South Atlantic League Southern Division standings at 17-11, and improve to 56-40 overall with the win. The Crawdads, who have now lost five straight, drop to 16-14 in the second half and 55-45 overall.
Before the game, Hickory was forced to scratch their starting pitcher RHP CJ Edwards from the lineup because he was traded to the Chicago Cubs organization as part of a deal that brought Matt Garza to the Texas Rangers. Righty reliever Ryan Bores was forced into making the spot start for the Crawdads.
It didn't take long for Charleston to get on the board against Bores as Angelo Gumbs smashed his fourth homer of the year, a three-run shot, over the left field wall in the top of the first inning to make it 3-0 RiverDogs.
Hickory responded right away with a two-run homer of their own by Nick Vickerson, his seventh of the season, in the bottom of the first to cut the Charleston lead to 3-2.
After shaky first innings, both starters settled in very nicely and went on to each not allow a run innings two through four.
Earlier in the day, RiverDogs first baseman Greg Bird was named SAL Player of the Week for game played July 15-21. Bird made sure to immediately put his name in the running for this week's award with another dominant performance at the plate.
In the top of the fifth, he launched his 15th home run of the season over the right field wall and brought in Jake Cave to put Charleston on top 5-2. Bird finished the game 3-5, just a triple shy of the cycle
The very next inning, Cave went opposite field for his second homer of the year to score three and push the RiverDogs lead to 8-2. Cave finished 2-5 with a double, homer, 2 runs scored, and three RBI.
All eight runs for Charleston scored via the homer, and they also all crossed the plate with two outs in their respective innings. That was all the scoring for the RiverDogs, but it was more than enough.
Daniel Camarena started for Charleston, and yet again was solid. He got through six innings, allowed just four hits, two runs, and struck out a season high eight batters. Camarena picked up the win to go to 3-4 on the year.
Hickory scratched across single runs in the seventh and in the ninth, but never got within four runs.
Derek Varnadore threw two innings of relief for Charleston and allowed one unearned run on one hit and struck out two. Tyler Webb pitched the ninth with one run allowed on two hits.
Given the circumstances of the day, Ryan Bores' effort on the mound for the Crawdads was admirable. He was one out away from getting through five innings and only allowing three runs. But, he ended up allowing five runs on seven hits and three strikeouts in 4.2 innings of work. He picked up the loss to fall to 2-2.
Lefty Sam Stafford relieved Bores and gave up three hits, three runs, and struck out three in 2.1 innings of work. Tyler Smith got the final six outs for the Crawdads and did not allow a run on just one hit.
The RiverDogs will go for the sweep in the finale of this four game series with first pitch scheduled for 7pm on Tuesday at L.P. Frans Stadium in Hickory. Charleston will send RHP Cesar Vargas (3-3, 3.09 ERA) to the mound and Hickory will counter with LHP Luis Parra (5-3, 1.78 ERA). You can listen to the game live locally on ESPN 910 AM or online at www.riverdogs.com.