Charleston southpaw Dalton Lehnen turned in six solid innings of two-run ball, but the pitching effort was overshadowed by lefty Will Stewart, who smothered the RiverDogs over eight shutout frames in a 2-0 defeat on Wednesday night’s road trip opener at FirstEnergy Park.
Backed by the best pitching staff in the South Atlantic League circuit by ERA, the RiverDogs’ league-low run-scoring offense couldn’t muster up enough against the Lakewood (17-15) southpaw. Stewart (4-0) won his second start in a row, fanning six Charleston (16-16) hitters in the longest outing for a BlueClaws starter this year.
The loss marked the second shutout defeat for the RiverDogs this season and snapped their season-best three-game winning streak.
Former Gamecock Dom Thompson-Williams collected half of the RiverDogs’ hit total on the evening, returning from the disabled list to go 3-for-4 from the top of the lineup card in his first live action since the opening weekend of the season.
Lakewood took their first lead in the second. Designated hitter Colby Fitch roped a triple to right-center and scored two batters later on a Kevin Markham sac fly. The BlueClaws centerfielder was retired on an impressive diving catch by left fielder Pablo Olivares, but Fitch was still able to tag up and score despite the lunging effort.
With two outs in the fifth, first baseman Quincy Nieporte doubled the advantage, jumping on the first pitch for a 404-foot home run to left-center, making it 2-0 BlueClaws.
Lehnen (2-2) was charged with the loss, yielding six hits and a walk while striking out a pair.
Charleston continues the three-game tilt with the Phillies farm club, sending southpaw JP Sears (0-1, 1.59) to the bump to face BlueClaws right-hander Spencer Howard (3-0, 1.86) at 6:35 p.m. Thursday night’s contest will be broadcast on WTMA 1250 AM in the tri-county area and online streaming on the RiverDogs TuneIn radio station.