The Charleston bullpen logged eight innings following an early exit by starter Nick Green, as RiverDogs relievers held onto an early lead in a 5-3 win over West Virginia that snapped the Charleston RiverDogs out of a six-game losing streak on Tuesday night in front of 2,790 at Joe Riley Park.
Raynel Espinal (2-1) logged three scoreless innings of relief to garner the winning decision after Green was removed following a first inning when he was struck by a comebacker from West Virginia designated hitter Carlos Munoz that drove in a run to give the Power a quick 1-0 lead. Espinal gave up just two hits and fanned four as Charleston’s lights out bullpen that came into play with a minuscule 1.98 ERA were pressed into service, using four different relief arms on the evening.
Charleston (31-34) wasted no time with a response, adding a single tally in the home half of the first to tie it up. Second baseman Hoy Jun Park singled to centerfield to lead off and later scored on an RBI knock to left field by third baseman Angel Aguilar.
Charleston jumped on West Virginia (28-33) starter Eduardo Vera (2-3) further in the second, adding four runs on five hits to stretch the advantage to the largest of the night at 5-1. Dalton Blaser, Park, and Estevan Florial all drove in runs with base hits and shortstop Diego Castillo plated one with a groundout before Charleston’s offense dried up, managing just one baserunner the rest of the way when Park reached on a hit by pitch in the fourth.
West Virginia added single tallies in the fifth and sixth innings, but the RiverDogs bullpen kept Charleston’s lead intact. Christian Morris limited the damage to two runs (one earned) across two innings out of the pen, and Trevor Lane left runners stranded in both the seventh and eighth innings to keep the lead intact before Hobie Harris pitched around a leadoff walk in the ninth to record his first save of the year.
West Virginia stranded 12 baserunners in the loss.
The RiverDogs continue the series with West Virginia in game two on Wednesday night at 7:05pm. Charleston will send right-hander Freicer Perez (1-3, 3.57) who has logged at least 5.2 innings in each of his last four starts, allowing just three earned runs over that span (23.1 IP). The Power will counter with lefty Cam Vieaux (2-2, 2.67). 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 and on MiLB.tv.