Designated hitter Isiah Gilliam clubbed a homer for the second straight game to drive in the RiverDogs’ only two runs as Charleston fell short of the series sweep with a 4-2 loss to the Hagerstown Suns on Friday night in front of 4,919 at Joe Riley Park.
The loss is Charleston’s (53-44, 19-8) first against Hagerstown (52-43, 14-10) as they finish the season series going 5-1 against the Nationals’ affiliate. Despite the setback, the RiverDogs remain in first-place by 1.5 games over Asheville in the Southern Division second half standings.
Trailing 3-0 heading into the fourth, catcher Donny Sands walked with two outs before Gilliam hammered a line drive shot to right for his tenth homer of the season.
The Suns got on the board first as RiverDog’s starter Nick Nelson (1-7) had a hard time settling in. The former fourth-rounder walked the leadoff man, center fielder Blake Perkins then first baseman Alrem Corredor hit a sac bunt to move the runner over to third following a wild pitch. Right fielder Daniel Johnson was the second walk of the inning to put runners at the corners. Second baseman Jake Noll brought one run in with an RBI single to left then left fielder Telmito Agustin grounded out to make it 2-0 Hagerstown.
Hagerstown extended their lead to 3-0 in the third. Perkins led off the inning with a single then stole second. Corredor advanced him to third with his second sac bunt of the game then a wild pitch bought in the third run.
Hagerstown got one insurance run in the eighth as Perkins scored off a Johnson RBI single.
Nelson went 4 1/3, allowing just two hits and three earned runs on four walks as he suffered his seventh loss of the season. The RiverDogs bullpen took over in the fifth with Christian Morris who tossed three and two thirds, allowing one run on one hit with three strike outs. Garrett Mundell tossed the final inning blanking the Suns with one strike out. The run yielded by Morris was the first scored by the Suns off the bullpen after over 17 straight scoreless innings turned in by Charleston’s relief corps.
Fireworks lit up the postgame per usual on a Friday night presented by Home Telecom. Fans and players wore red to show their support for the Military. It was also “No-hitter” night at The Joe on an evening promoting domestic violence awareness.
Charleston begins a four-game series Saturday night against the Lakewood BlueClaws at 6:05PM. Right-hander Rony Garcia (0-0, 1.69) will get his fourth start with the RiverDogs and Lakewood will counter with right-hander Adonis Medina (3-6, 3.32) The game can be tuned into on “The Big Talker” WTMA 1250 AM and online streaming audio via riverdogs.com and the RiverDogs TuneIn Radio app station. Pregame coverage starts at 5:30.