Brady Lail became the first Charleston RiverDogs pitcher to win six consecutive appearances since the RiverDogs became a New York Yankees affiliate, earning the win in a 6-3 Charleston victory over the Hickory Crawdads on Friday night at L.P. Frans Stadium in South Atlantic League action.
Charleston improved to 24-22 this season while evening this four-game series at one win each. Hickory has a 22-24 record after the loss. Lail’s six straight winning outings is the best mark for any RiverDog dating back to Charleston’s first year in the Yankees system in 2005, which is also when Minor League Baseball began regularly archiving statistics. Lail has seven total victories and is tied for the South Atlantic League lead in wins with Hagerstown’s Nick Pivetta.
The Crawdads quickly threatened against Lail in the first inning. Hickory loaded the bases with a leadoff walk by Evan Van Hoosier and singles from Nick Vickerson and Joe Jackson. Charleston escaped the jam after a foul pop out and back-to-back strikeouts from Lail.
In the second inning, Hickory was able to convert its next scoring chance to grab a 1-0 lead. With one out, Jairo Beras got into scoring position with his fourth double in as many games. Van Hoosier put the Crawdads in front with a two-out single that scored Beras.
Charleston surged ahead of Hickory in the top of the fourth, taking a 3-1 lead. Cole Wiper induced a lineout before Aaron Judge doubled and Mike Ford singled to put runners on the corners. Miguel Andujar grounded into a force out and brought in Judge for the tying run. Gosuke Katoh followed with a go-ahead, two-run home run, his first home run of the season.
Another three-run rally in the fifth added to Charleston’s advantage. Judge’s one-out, bases-loaded single scored Kale Sumner and John Murphy, putting the RiverDogs up 5-1. After Hickory’s Kevin Pucetas relieved Wiper, Ford greeted the new pitcher with a double that drove in Michael O’Neill to give the RiverDogs a 6-1 lead.
Lail allowed one run to the Crawdads in five solid frames. He also retired nine of the final ten batters that he faced, yielding a leadoff double to Kellin Deglan in the fourth with no other damage in that streak. Lail struck out five Crawdads and only gave up six hits along with a walk.
Philip Walby relieved Lail and stranded five runners in two scoreless innings before Hickory started a comeback in the bottom of the eighth. Vickerson batted against Chris Smith with two outs and runners on the corners when a passed ball allowed Deglan to score and cut the deficit to 6-2. Vickerson hit a single that plated Van Hoosier to get within 6-3. Smith did not allow any more runs through the end of the contest as the RiverDogs claimed the win.
With the victory, Lail has a 7-1 record this season. Wiper was charged with the loss and is 2-6.
COMING UP: Game three of this four-game series will feature Charleston RHP Rookie Davis (2-3, 4.58 ERA) and Hickory LHP Chad Bell (0-0, 3.00 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 6pm. The RiverDogs follow this road stretch with an eight-game homestand at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park. Re-Opening Night is on tap for a May 27 doubleheader with the Greenville Drive at 6:05pm while Bark for Your Brew on June 1 at 3pm precedes the homestand finale against the Asheville Tourists at 5:05pm. 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.