Right fieder Isiah Gilliam crushed his third home run of the homestand and first baseman Brandon Wagner reached base three times and collected two RBI as the RiverDogs splashed the BlueClaws on Tuesday afternoon 7-4, splitting the series at Joe Riley Park in front of 4,338 soaking wet fans on Big Splash Day.
The RiverDogs broke a 2-2 tie in the third inning as Wagner and center fielder Estevan Florial got aboard for Gilliam to hammer his 11th homer of the season setting the tone for the rest of the game.
Since snapping a 2-for-23 slump following the MLB Futures Game, Florial has gone 11 for his last 22 (.500) after reaching base three times on Tuesday afternoon with two singles and a double.
Charleston (55-46, 21-10) ensured a winning homestand, finishing 4-3 during the weeklong stint, and will remain with the best second-half record in the league entering Wednesday’s off day. Gilliam is now tied with Florial for the team-lead in home runs.
Lakewood (54-48, 14-18) had an opportunity to start the game off in their favor during the first inning. Charleston starter Nick Green (7-6) gave up a single to second baseman Daniel Brito and walked shortstop Arquimedes Gamboa on four pitches. Center fielder Mickey Moniak then singled to load the bases. Green induced back-to-back ground balls that brought in a run, but got him out of the inning with minimal damage.
The RiverDogs took a quick lead in the bottom of the first. Shortstop Diego Castillo doubled then scored from an RBI triple off the bat of Wagner that Moniak lost in the sun. Wagner was then brought in from an RBI single from Florial.
That lead got erased quickly as right fielder Juan Luis homered tying the game off Green to lead off the third inning. Green finished strong, striking out the next three batters in a row and finishing five innings with four hits allowed to pick up the win.
Charleston added insurance in the fourth inning as left fielder Pablo Olivares got his first hit as a RiverDog with a single, then scored a run on a double from catcher Eduardo Navas. Wagner collected his second RBI of the game with a double that brought home Navas.
Tempers flared in the eighth inning as relief pitcher Hobie Harris hit three straight batters and surrendered two runs in the top half then Lakewood's reliever Ismael Cabrera plunked Charleston's leadoff hitter Oswaldo Cabrera to cause warnings for the pitcher and both dugouts.
David Sosebee collected his eighth save of the season as he blanked the BlueClaws in the ninth.
Gustavo Armas (1-1, 6.75) suffered his first loss of the season as he gave up seven runs on nine hits in three and two-thirds innings of work.
-per Charleston RiverDogs