Shortstop Wilkerman Garcia clobbered a walk-off, two-run home run in the eighth and extra frame to lift the RiverDogs to a game one comeback victory, 7-5, as Charleston took both games over in-state rival Columbia in a sweep of a Tuesday evening doubleheader in front of 2,507 at Joe Riley Park.
Garcia’s walk-off bomb was the Venezuelan shortstop’s second of the season and second in his last three games as he lifted the RiverDogs (9-10) to their first walk-off win of the season. The 20-year-old infielder broke out with his first 3-hit game of the season in the opener while scoring a pair of runs in the victory.
Charleston found themselves in comeback mode after spoiling a 3-0 early lead. Down two runs, the Fireflies (11-8) rallied for a trio in the fifth by ripping three straight run-scoring, extra-base hits, capped by a Quinn Brodey RBI double that pushed Columbia out to a 5-4 advantage.
The RiverDogs answered back with a tally in the fifth to tie it. Catcher Jason Lopez roped a two-out RBI single, scoring Chris Hess who reached earlier in the inning with an infield hit.
Chad Martin (1-0) tossed three scoreless with just a hit allowed and a pair of strikeouts out of the bullpen to keep Charleston in the game, including stranding the free runner at second base for the Fireflies in the extra frame.
In the nightcap, the RiverDogs scored a pair of early runs and held on to win, 2-1. Nick Nelson (1-1) delivered with five scoreless frames, allowing three hits and striking out six.
Catcher Eduardo Navas doubled to get the Holy City on the board in the second, driving in Leonardo Molina who singled. A leadoff walk to Oswaldo Cabrera eventually led to the Dogs’ second run; the Charleston shortstop was plated on an infield knock by Hess to make it 2-0.
After Columbia cut the deficit to one in the sixth, Matt Wivinis came on in the seventh to close the door on his league-leading sixth save of the season by striking out a pair in a 1-2-3 frame.
The RiverDogs celebrated the second Live & Local Tuesday of the season, opening Murray’s Mezzanine to the burger and culinary exploits of Chef Jason Bell and Pub Fare, hosting a farmers’ market on the concourse, and turning the mic over to celebrity guest PA announcer KJ Kearney, a local educator and Charleston City Paper contributor. The Riley Park “rally fox” made an appearance after a two-year hiatus in the top of the eighth inning just before Garcia’s walk-off shot.