In a one-sided contest, Aaron Judge blasted his ninth home run of the season for the Charleston RiverDogs and totaled a career-high three hits and four runs batted in against the Lexington Legends in an 8-2 RiverDogs victory on Friday evening at Whitaker Bank Ballpark in South Atlantic League action.
Charleston goes up to 31-37 while evening this series at 1-1. Lexington slides back to 29-39. Judge ties Eduardo de Oleo for a team-best nine home runs this season.
The RiverDogs went ahead 4-0 in the first inning. Michael O’Neill struck out on a wild pitch but reached first base to open the game. After a single by Tyler Wade, Judge singled to bring in O’Neill. Reymond Nunez walked to load the bases and was followed by a fly out. Dustin Fowler came through with a two-run double. Nunez scored the fourth run during a de Oleo groundout.
Judge led the offense again in the second with a home run for a 7-0 RiverDogs advantage. With one out, Michael O’Neill walked and Wade singled ahead of Judge. He tagged Luke Farrell with a three-run drive to left field that increased the lead.
Charleston’s Rookie Davis tossed five shutout innings. During his longest start since throwing 5.2 innings in a win at the Greenville Drive on April 14, Davis stranded a pair of runners at third base and struck out three. He was also helped by two double plays that were turned by Miguel Andujar, John Murphy, and Nunez.
The Legends scored an unearned run in the sixth inning to snip Charleston’s lead to 7-1. RiverDogs reliever Chaz Hebert induced back-to-back groundouts before Mauricio Ramos took a walk. Ramos advanced to third base during an Elier Hernandez single and scored due to a throwing error on an attempt on Hernandez at second.
Charleston added another run in the eighth while Lexington produced one more score in the ninth. Andujar’s one-out single was followed by a Fowler single that was coupled with an error. From third base, Andujar scored on a wild pitch from Legends reliever Alex Black. Lexington got a solo home run from Hernandez in the final inning as its last run.
In addition to his early run-scoring hits, Judge had a leadoff single in the fifth inning for a three-hit game with four runs batted in. Both totals tie career highs from earlier this season. de Oleo had a single of his own later in the contest and now owns a team-best 11-game hit streak.
Davis claimed the win, snapping a string of six straight losing decisions while improving to 3-6. Farrell suffered his third consecutive loss and is 1-6 this season. Hebert grabbed his first save of the season after finishing the contest with four innings of relief.
COMING UP: Game three of this four-game series is on tap for 7:05pm on Saturday. It will be a match-up between Charleston RHP Luis Severino (2-2, 2.92 ERA) and Lexington RHP Jake Junis (7-3, 3.10 ERA). The RiverDogs will return to Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park for the start of the second half. On Thursday, June 19, Charleston will host the Minor League Baseball Game of the Week on CBS Sports Network against the Kannapolis Intimidators on another Budweiser Thirsty Thursday, presented by 95SX, with $1 drafts and DJ Natty Heavy. 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.