LAKEWOOD, NJ - The Charleston RiverDogs' bats were stymied for the second straight night and Lakewood used two solo homers to top Charleston in a 2-1 defeat on Thursday evening at FirstEnergy Park.
Six shutout frames from Spencer Howard (3-2) extended Lakewood's (18-15) scoreless streak to 15 straight against the RiverDogs (16-17) until Charleston managed to push across a run in the seventh off the bullpen.
Two runs were enough for the BlueClaws for a second straight night after shutting out Charleston in Wednesday night's opener.
JP Sears (0-2) pitched well in the second straight tough-luck loss for a Charleston starter, yielding a pair of two-out solo shots in the third and fourth while striking out four across 5 2/3 frames. With Sears' solid outing, Charleston pitching has allowed just 19 earned runs over the last 11 games spanning 94-plus innings, good for a 1.81 ERA. The RiverDogs are just 11-11 over that dominant stretch.
Third baseman Jake Scheiner took a Sears 1-0 pitch deep to dead-center in the third and first baseman Gregory Rivero pulled one out of the yard to left in the fourth inning, both with two men down.
In the seventh, right fielder Steven Sensley got the offense going off the bullpen, rapping a single up the middle before third baseman Chris Hess followed with another base knock. After Leonardo Molina put runners at the corners after hitting into force out dropped in right field, Eduardo Navas walked to set up the Blaser sac fly.
Sensley finished 2-for-4 with a double and second baseman Wilkerman Garcia also collected a multi-hit game for the Holy City.
With the loss, the RiverDogs drop to 0-12 in games in which they trail after eight. The BlueClaws won their season-best fourth in a row overall.
The RiverDogs are 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position in the series after entering play just over the .200 mark in situational hitting, the worst mark in the South Atlantic League.