Augusta broke open a scoreless tie with a six-run fifth inning, and the Charleston RiverDogs were handed their eighth loss in their last ten home games as they fell to the GreenJackets, 9-4, on Thursday night in front of 5,063 at Joe Riley Park.
Designated hitter Ben Ruta continued his hot start with Charleston, going 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI and a walk from the bottom of the order. The Wagner College product is now hitting .417 (10-24) in his first seven games as a RiverDog.
Brian Keller (0-3, 4.54) looked sharp through the first four innings, giving up just a pair of hits and getting the help of two inning-ending double plays before Augusta (13-25) put up a big crooked number in the fifth. With one out, five consecutive GreenJackets hitters reached, including a two RBI double by shortstop Brandon Van Horn. After Will Albertson scored on a passed ball, Giants No. 18 prospect Kelvin Beltre added another pair on a two-out two-bagger to right, making it 6-0 to end Keller’s night.
Charleston (19-21) got on the board in the bottom half when Diego Castillo was brought home on a throwing error following a base hit by third baseman Angel Aguilar. Charleston’s shortstop reached with one out on a base hit earlier in the inning.
The GreenJackets plated two more in the seventh to make it 8-1 on a pair of RBI doubles by right fielder Ashford Fulmer and again Beltre who finished 2-for-5 with 3 RBI. The Dominican Republic native is now 10-for-26 (.384) with 10 RBI in seven games against Charleston pitching this season.
Augusta cruised out to their largest lead of the night, 9-1, after adding a run in the eighth on a Van Horn sac fly, his third RBI, to score a Ryan Kirby single.
Charleston made things interesting in the ninth, scoring three times and loading the bases with two outs to put the tying run on deck, but ultimately came up short as Nolan Riggs managed to get the final three outs of the ballgame.
Lefty Garrett Williams (1-0, 0.00) picked up the win in his first Class A start, tossing 5.0 innings with one unearned run allowed and four strikeouts to just one walk.
Keller finished with six runs (five earned) allowed on six hits with five strikeouts, a walk, and two hit batters to take the loss.
The loss matched the largest margin of defeat for the RiverDogs this season with two prior losses of eight runs occurring prior.
The RiverDogs kicked off the summer season on a Budweiser Thirsty Thursday, celebrating with dollar beers and the scintillating beats of DJ Natty Heavy in the Budweiser Ashley View Pub throughout the game.
Charleston continues the series with the GreenJackets tomorrow in game two at 7:05pm at The Joe. Charleston will send right-hander Nick Nelson (0-3, 6.75) to toe the rubber against RHP Melvin Adon (0-3, 4.87). A postgame fireworks show will follow the night’s action as presented by Home Telecom. The game will be broadcast on WTMA 1250 AM in the tri-county area and online streaming at riverdogs.com and the TuneIn Radio app under the "Charleston RiverDogs" station.