Two home runs by Miguel Andujar powered the Charleston RiverDogs to a 10-3 victory against the Savannah Sand Gants on Sunday afternoon at Historic Grayson Stadium in South Atlantic League action. Andujar became the first RiverDog with a multi-home run game since last season when Reymond Nunez hit two shots in a win at Greenville on August 27, 2013.
Charleston has a 23-19 record and is now five games back of first-place Savannah, which is currently 28-14. The RiverDogs also hold a 2-0 lead in this four-game set and have won four consecutive road games dating back to a series win at Rome earlier in May.
Michael O’Neill gave the RiverDogs a 1-0 lead in the third inning. After a leadoff single and a one-out stolen base, O’Neill scored from second base on Mike Ford’s double. Ford had also walked in the first, officially reaching a career-high and team-best 15-game on-base streak.
Luis Severino started for Charleston and tossed four long scoreless innings. Severino allowed three hits and left three runners in scoring position in a shutout start and a no-decision.
Andujar lifted the RiverDogs lead to 4-0 in the top of the fifth with his first home run. With two outs and two runners aboard, Chris Flexen’s 1-2 pitch was hit over the left field wall by Andujar. Jose Rosario also added a run in the sixth, scoring on a force out that featured two throwing errors, which gave Charleston a 5-0 lead.
Angel Rincon had a perfect inning to open his RiverDogs debut before Savannah broke through in the sixth. Two runs scored on a bases-loaded single by Dominic Smith, cutting the gap to 5-2. Victor Cruzado followed with a single of his own that scored L.J. Mazzilli for a 5-3 deficit.
In the top of the seventh, Andujar’s second blast to left field reinforced Charleston’s lead. Ford was on base with a walk when Andujar homered off Dawrin Frias and boosted the RiverDogs to a 7-3 advantage. This was the first multi-home run game for Andujar, who also recorded a personal-best five runs batted in. Those two marks top all RiverDogs hitters in 2014.
More offense came for Charleston in the ninth inning to put the game further out of reach. Ford hit a leadoff double and was moved to third base on a single from Andujar. Ford scored on a wild pitch by Robert Coles for an 8-3 RiverDogs lead. Gosuke Katoh had a two-out single later in the frame that drove in two runs to push Charleston’s lead to 10-3.
Philip Walby relieved Rincon with four strikeouts in two scoreless innings. Chris Smith pitched the ninth in a non-save situation, keeping Savannah off the scoreboard in the final inning.
Walby received credit for the win and is 2-1 for the RiverDogs. Flexen suffered his fourth consecutive loss to fall to 1-5 with Savannah. This was also the longest Charleston contest this season at three hours and 35 minutes.
COMING UP: Game three of this four-game series is on tap for 7:05pm on Monday. Charleston LHP Ian Clarkin (1-0, 1.15 ERA) will meet Savannah RHP Kevin McGowan (1-1, 2.25 ERA). The RiverDogs will follow this road stretch with an eight-game homestand at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park. “Re-Opening Night” is scheduled for a May 27 doubleheader with the Greenville Drive while “Bark for Your Brew” on June 1 precedes the homestand finale against the Asheville Tourists. 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.