Michael O’Neill gave the Charleston RiverDogs a 1-0 lead in the second inning, but the Augusta GreenJackets came from behind for a 5-1 win on Thursday night in front of 3,924 fans at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park in South Atlantic League action. The RiverDogs record is 3-4 for the season while the GreenJackets improved to 4-4.
O’Neill took an unconventional circuit around the bases to put Charleston in front. He led off the second inning with a walk and advanced to second base via a balk from Luis Ysla. He stole third base and scored on a high throw from the Augusta catcher. The RiverDogs have been the first team to score in all seven of their games so far this year.
Luis Severino and Jaron Long combined to hold the GreenJackets scoreless until Augusta pulled ahead in the sixth inning. Back-to-back one-out doubles scored Brandon Bednar to tie the game. Matthew Chavez moved from second to third on a groundout and came in on a go-ahead single from Ryan Tuntland for a 2-1 Augusta advantage.
Errors allowed the GreenJackets to increase the lead to 5-1 in the seventh. With two outs and two runners aboard, Bednar scored Cristian Paulino with a single. The next batter was Chavez, who doubled to bring in two more runs to finish the scoring for the GreenJackets.
Both bullpens received some solid pitching in the contest. Following Long for the RiverDogs were right-handers Cesar Vargas and Nick Rumbelow worked the final 2.2 innings pitched without allowing any runs and striking out five batters as a duo.
Out of Augusta’s bullpen, Carlos Alvarado and Daniel Slania pitched behind Ysla and kept the RiverDogs scoreless in 5.2 innings pitched to finish the game. Alvarado led his team with four strikeouts while Slania also kept Charleston from registering a base hit.
Alvarado earned the victory and improved to 1-0 on the season. Slania pitched the final three innings for his first save. Long was charged with the loss and is now 0-1. Ysla did not factor in the decision, but his teams are 13-1 in games that he has started since his professional debut in 2013.
BALLPARK FUN: The RiverDogs debuted their new Bottoms Up cups on their first Budweiser Thirsty Thursday of the season at the Joe. Scottie Frier and the Shem Creek Blues Band entertained fans as they exited the park after the game in the first postgame concert this year, presented by Palmetto Brewery.
COMING UP: Game two of this four-game series features Charleston RHP Giovanny Gallegos (0-1, 7.20 ERA) pitching against Augusta RHP Keury Mella (1-0, 1.59 ERA). First pitch is set for 7:05pm. Wear red to the game on ISHPI Red Shirt Friday and save $1 off the price of a ticket purchased at the box office, or you can donate that dollar to the Canines for Veterans and Folds of Honor charities. Stick around following the contest for our first fireworks display over the scenic Ashley River. Tickets may be purchased at the Riley Park Box Office, (843) 577-DOGS (3647) or on-line at www.riverdogs.com. If fans cannot make it to the ballpark, they are encouraged to tune in to all the action this year both home and away worldwide on www.riverdogs.com and locally on 1250 WTMA, the new radio home for RiverDogs baseball.