The RiverDogs twice had the potential go-ahead run cut down at the plate, both in the eighth and ninth innings, as baserunning mistakes loomed large on Monday night in the state capital. With a two out RBI single to center field by Fireflies right fielder Jay Jabs in the bottom of the ninth inning, Desmond Lindsay was ruled safe sliding in past an Eduardo Navas tag as Columbia walked off 2-1 over Charleston to hand the RiverDogs their sixth consecutive loss on Monday night at Spirit Communications Park.
In the eighth, the RiverDogs (30-34) had their first opportunity to take the lead. With two outs, Estevan Florial worked a walk before swiping second for his tenth stolen base of the season. Angel Aguilar stroked line drive single off the glove of third baseman Milton Ramos as Charleston manager sent Florial home from second before Andres Gimenez recovered the play to comfortably throw out the speedy Dominican at home.
In the ninth, Charleston again saw the potential go-ahead tally be erased at home when Jabs cut down pinch-runner Dalton Blaser trying to score from second on a two-out single by first baseman Brandon Wagner.
The two plays at the plate by Charleston marked two of the three outs on the base paths by the RiverDogs in the game. Ben Ruta was also thrown out trying to go first to third on a single by Hoy Park in the third. Park eventually scored on a balk by Columbia starter Blake Taylor after advancing to third on a Florial bloop double to right. The balk made it 1-0 RiverDogs.
Columbia (37-25) wasted no time answering back. Catcher Brandon Brosher slugged his fourth home run of the season to right field to lead off the bottom of the third to pull the Fireflies even at one apiece.
RiverDogs starter Brian Keller pitched well, turning in his seventh quality start in 11 outings this season. The Wisconsin native struck out nine across seven innings while scattering five hits and walking just a lone batter in a no-decision effort.
Righty reliever Garrett Mundell (0-2) yielded the go-ahead run in the ninth to take the loss. Charleston’s bullpen entered the contest with a miniscule 1.96 ERA as a staff.
The six-game losing streak is the longest slump of the season for Charleston who falls to a season-low watermark of three games under. The victory marked Columbia’s ninth in a row. Charleston is now officially eliminated from the first half playoff race with six games remaining until the All-Star break.
The RiverDogs return home to close out the first half with a six-game homestand at The Joe, first taking on the West Virginia Power in a three-game tilt. In Tuesday night’s opener, Charleston will send right-hander Nick Green (4-4, 2.75) to the hill as the Pirates’ affiliate club counter with righty Eduardo Vera (2-2, 2.72). First pitch is set for 7:05pm. Fans can tune into the game on WTMA 1250 AM “The Big Talker,” and online streaming via the TuneIn Radio app under the “Charleston RiverDogs” station.