Right-hander Garrett Whitlock fanned seven batters across six strong innings, but the Charleston RiverDogs couldn’t muster enough offense to back the solid outing as they fell, 2-1, to the Rome Braves on Tuesday afternoon at State Mutual Stadium.
The former UAB Blazer Whitlock racked up seven punch outs for the second straight start, but Rome’s (4-2) knack for putting the ball in play at the right times was enough to seal the victory. The Braves scored both their runs on double plays hit into in the first and fifth; Charleston’s defense turned a season-high four double plays.
The RiverDogs (2-4) jumped out to 1-0 lead in the first inning, already the Charleston’s club’s ninth run scored in the opening frame this year. Left fielder Frederick Cuevas led off the game by driving a 3-2 pitch into left for a single. Two batters later, right fielder Steven Sensley reached on an infield hit to put runners at the corners before designated hitter Dalton Blaser stroked an RBI knock into center field to get the RiverDogs on the board. Blaser has now hit safely in his first five games to start the year.
Following Whitlock’s start, Anderson Severino turned in two scoreless to stretch the Charleston bullpen’s scoreless streak to 15.0 innings straight. The Dominican southpaw was the benefactor of the RiverDogs’ fourth double play that left a runner stranded and keep it at a one-run game in the eighth.
All five of Charleston’s hits came in the first two innings. Right-hander Freddy Tarnok (1-0) picked up the win for Rome in relief.
Charleston finishes up their weeklong road trip to start the season with a Wednesday matinee at State Mutual Stadium at 1 p.m. The RiverDogs send right-hander and Yankees No. 20 prospect Glenn Otto (0-1. 8.31) to the bump for his second start. He will be opposed by Braves righty Jaseel De La Cruz (1-0, 0.00). After the three-game tilt, the Dogs return home for their home opener on April 12 at The Joe. Wednesday’s contest will be broadcast online only via riverdogs.com and the RiverDogs TuneIn radio app starting at 12:50.