Left fielder Steven Sensley clubbed his first home run with the RiverDogs to put Charleston on the board in the second inning, a lead Charleston would not relinquish as they answered back to even the series with Columbia at one game apiece with a 5-2 win on Tuesday night at Spirit Communications Park.
Sensley’s leadoff homer was his tenth as a professional since being drafted by the Yankees out of Louisiana-Lafayette in June and ripping nine with Pulaski at the rookie-ball level. The former Ragin’ Cajun was one of three RiverDogs with a pair of hits each and is now out to a 12-for-36 start (.333) in eight games with his new club.
Columbia (58-54, 18-26) kept chipping away throughout the night to keep themselves in the ballgame, and managed two runs off Charleston’s ace Freicer Perez (8-3) who yielded just four hits and struck out three across five innings of work. The RiverDogs (62-52, 28-16) won a game with the 6’8” Dominican on the hill for the 12th time in his last 14 starts; Perez has allowed two runs or fewer in 13 of his last 14 starts, owning a sub-2.00 ERA over that span.
The RiverDogs got a gift run in the second inning after Sensley’s homer to extend their lead to 2-0. With the bases loaded and two outs, a chopper back to the mound was dropped the first baseman Reed Gamache on a flip by the pitcher to double the advantage.
The Fireflies got on the board in the second when left fielder Jay Jabs cruised a two-out, solo homer to right field for his sixth of the season, cutting the lead to 2-1.
The RiverDogs answered back with an insurance tally in the third when three batters reached off starter Darwin Ramos (0-2) to set up a sac fly for centerfielder Pablo Olivares to push the advantage back to two runs at 3-1.
Charleston built their cushion to three with a one-out RBI double by Dalton Blaser in the seventh and a sac fly by right fielder Isiah Gilliam in the ninth who registered his team-leading 69th RBI of the season that also ranks second in the league.
Chase Hodson made his RiverDogs debut and combined with David Sosebee for four scoreless innings from the bullpen. Sosebee fanned three of the seven batters he faced in two innings of work to pick up his 10th save.
Shortstop Diego Castillo and catcher Eduardo Navas each collected a pair of hits for Charleston.
The RiverDogs take on the Fireflies in Wednesday rubber match from Spirit Communications Park at 7:05pm before continuing their road trip with a four-game tilt in Lexington, KY starting on Thursday. Charleston will send right-hander and former fourth-round pick Nick Nelson (2-8, 4.81) to the bump, opposed by Columbia righty Harol Gonzalez (8-8, 3.74). 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.