Centerfielder Blake Rutherford matched a career-high by driving in three runs and catcher Donny Sands added three hits as the RiverDogs scored a combined 10 runs in the third and fourth innings to breeze past Columbia 13-2 on Saturday night at Joe Riley Park in front of 4,041 fans.
Freicer Perez (5-3, 3.03) worked his ninth consecutive start of at least 5.2 innings as he went six strong, allowing just two earned runs on six hits with six punch outs. He has now given up just 11 earned runs in the last nine starts spanning 55 1/3 innings of work (1.80 ERA).
The RiverDogs (45-41, 11-5) have now scored seven or more runs in eight of their first 16 games to start the second half, averaging 6.4 runs per game.
Charleston broke up a 1-1 tie in the third inning, sending eight men to the plate to rattle Columbia (46-38, 6-10) starter Blake Taylor (1-8, 4.77). Second baseman Chris Hess singled to lead off the frame then left fielder Ben Ruta walked. Shortstop Diego Castillo loaded the bases with a single. Rutherford brought in two with a single and right fielder Isiah Gilliam brought in one with a sacrifice fly to deep left. Third baseman Mandy Alvarez plated the final run of the innings with a ground out to second.
The RiverDogs weren't done yet as the offense exploded for six in the fourth. The bases became loaded before Castillo brought in two with a double down the left field line. Rutherford, Sands and Brandon Wagner all got in on the action with RBI hits as the RiverDogs made it 11-2.
Columbia got on the board first in the second inning. First baseman Dash Winningham tripled out to right under the glove of a diving Gilliam. Left fielder Jay Jabs brought him with a ground out to second for the first run of the game.
Hess helped add to the RiverDogs total in the seventh with an RBI triple, his second three-bagger in seven games in the SAL. Sands and Rutherford added in the eighth with doubles that scored a run, finishing the barrage at 13.
Taylor was removed in the fourth after going just three and a third innings, being credited with 11 runs on 12 hits while striking out zero RiverDogs.
Charleston’s bullpen worked the final three. David Sosebee came in the seventh working a scoreless two, then Luis Cedeno capped of the ninth striking out two of the three batters he faced.
-per Charleston RiverDogs