The Charleston RiverDogs rode a five run first inning to a 7-3 victory over the Rome Braves on Saturday in South Atlantic League action in front of 4,222 fans at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park.
With the win, the RiverDogs advance to 35-33 in the second half and 74-62 overall. The Braves improve to 36-32 in second half play and 72-65 overall with the defeat.
Dante Bichette, Jr. got the scoring started with an RBI single in the bottom of the first inning, and Daniel Aldrich later drove in a couple with a double of his own. Two costly errors gave Charleston two more runs to cap off the inning and put the RiverDogs in the lead 5-0 after one inning.
In the second, the Dogs added another run on Ericson Leonora's RBI double to push the lead to 6-0.
It stayed that way until the seventh thanks to an amazing performance by starting pitcher Luis Niebla in his final outing of the season.
Niebla allowed just three hits and walked nobody in six shutout innings to earn the victory and improve to 5-6. Lefty Tyler Webb tossed two innings of relief and gave up three runs on three hits and fanned two. James Pazos closed it out for Charleston with a perfect ninth inning.
Rafael Briceno made the start for Rome and got rocked to the tune of seven hits, six runs, four earned, and three walks. He got tagged with the loss to fall to 5-9.
The first seven batters in the Charleston lineup collected at least one hit. Greg Bird also walked two more times to push his SAL league leading total to 105 on the season.
BALLPARK FUN: The Lowcountry Highrollers roller derby team was in attendance and entertained the crowd during the game all throughout the ballpark. The team even named RiverDogs mascot Chelsea an honorary roller girl at the conclusion of the game on the field.
COMING UP: Game three of this four game series will see LHP Eric Wooten (2-2, 1.46 ERA) start for Charleston and RHP Lucas Sims (11-4, 2.74 ERA) throw for Rome on Sunday night at Riley Park with first pitched scheduled for 5:05. It is another Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission and Crews Subaru Kids Club Sunday. Every Sunday game features FREE PARKING, members of the Kid's Club get FREE entry to the game and kids eat for FREE (kids 12-under will receive a coupon for a hot dog, Pepsi and chips). Hang out with Charlie, Chelsea and the whole crew as tons of their mascot friends from all over the Lowcountry and beyond take over the park. It is also Irish Heritage Night where we salute all our friends with ties to the Emerald Isle. Fans can purchase tickets at www.riverdogs.com, over the phone at 843/723-7241, or in-person at the Riley Park Box Office. Fans may also listen to the game live locally on ESPN Radio 910AM or online at www.riverdogs.com.