The Charleston RiverDogs’ bats exploded to life, scoring ten runs on 16 hits across a rain-shortened five inning contest to salvage a series split of a Wednesday doubleheader with the Columbia Fireflies at Spirit Communications Park.
After being shutout for just the third time this season, 3-0, Charleston’s prolific offense needed just five innings to post double digits in the run column for the sixth time this year, cruising past the Fireflies 10-4 in game two. The victory in the second act of the twin bill snapped a streak of nine consecutive day games lost by Charleston (23-22) to start the year.
Dogs Bats Shut Down in Game One
Columbia ace Jordan Humphries turned in a superb outing to open the day, striking out 10 batters across seven innings of shutout ball as the Fireflies blanked the RiverDogs, 3-0, in game one.
Charleston brought the tying run to the plate in the seventh after managing just four baserunners off Humphries (7-1, 1.57) through the first six frames when Hoy Jun Park reached on hit by pitch and Blake Rutherford doubled, but Humphries struck out a pair to help retire three in a row to become the first pitcher in the league to reach seven wins.
Diego Castillo collected half of Charleston’s hits, going 2-for-3 from the seven spot with a pair of singles. Only three of Charleston’s four hits off Humphries left the infield, and just one for extra bases.
Columbia (22-21) got to RiverDogs starter Brian Keller (3-4, 4.53) in the fourth, tagging the Wisconsin native for a pair of runs to take a 2-0 lead. After getting out of a two out jam in the first, Keller retired seven in a row before shortstop and No. 8 Mets prospect Andres Gimenez reached on an infield single and advanced to second on an overthrow into the stands by Park. Former Coastal Carolina World Series champ Michael Paez brought him around on an RBI triple cruised over the head of Blake Rutherford in center.
In the fifth, left fielder Jay Jabs doubled to left field before scoring on a two out knock from former South Carolina Gamecock Gene Cone, making it 3-0 Fireflies.
Offense Explodes in Game Two
The RiverDogs wasted no time bouncing back from a slow start in the opener, jumping on the board after a pair of consecutive two out knocks, one by center fielder Estevan Florial who scored on an Angel Aguilar hit to right field for the Charleston third baseman’s team-leading 24th RBI of the season that made it 1-0 RiverDogs.
Columbia tied the ballgame at one apiece in the bottom half when Gene Cone’s leadoff single eventually scored on a balk by RiverDogs starter Jio Orozco.
The RiverDogs broke the game open in the second and third, combining for seven runs and nine of their 16 hits to jump out to their largest advantage, 8-2. Florial and Castillo each racked up two-run doubles.
The Fireflies made a game of it in the fourth, scoring three runs to chase Orozco out of the game and bring Columbia within three, but the RiverDogs put to bed any hopes of a comeback with another pair in the fifth. Carlos Vidal stroked a one out single to left field that scored Castillo. Oswaldo Cabrera scored on an error on the same play that made it 10-5.
Catcher Donny Sands and first baseman Brandon Wagner each collected their second three-hit games of the year, both going 3-for-3 with a run scored.
The RiverDogs return to The Joe for a seven-game homestand starting Thursday night at 7:05pm. Charleston continues their run of games against teams ahead of them in the standings, taking on the first-place Greenville Drive, the Class A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, in a four-game tilt. The RiverDogs will send former fourth round pick and right-hander Nick Nelson (0-3, 6.75) seeking his first career win to toe the rubber with the Drive starter to be announced. The game will be broadcast on WTMA 1250 AM and online streaming via the TuneIn radio app starting at 7pm from The Joe.