Hickory, NC - Right-hander Rony Garcia fanned a career-best nine Crawdads batters over six one-run innings in the opener of a double-header as the RiverDogs took game one, 4-1, before falling, 7-4, in the finale on Sunday afternoon at L.P. Frans Stadium.
Garcia (2-2) dazzled in his eighth start with Charleston (22-26), striking out the side in the third and fanning three in a row again after allowing a leadoff double in the fourth. The 20-year-old Dominican's lone blemish came in the first when he yielded a one-out solo shot to second baseman Ryan Dorow, giving the Crawdads (17-28) a brief 1-0 lead.
The RiverDogs scored a pair to take the lead for good in the top of the second when catcher Jason Lopez flared a two-run double into left-center with two outs. The Holy City got some breathing room when a pair of singles by Wilkerman Garcia and Oswaldo Cabrera scored on a wild pitch and a passed ball an inning later.
The six-inning effort was Garcia's second longest outing of the season. After yielding at least four runs in each of his first four starts, the righty owns just a 2.50 ERA over his last four outings.
Right-hander Braden Bristo secured the victory with a 1-2-3 seventh, capped by a pair of strikeouts. It was the Louisiana Tech product's second save of the season and second straight appearance with a save.
In game two, Hickory leaned on Dorow once more. The Crawdads infielder roped a grand slam to deep left-center to chase Alexander Vargas (2-1) in the fourth and cap a five-run frame. The control artist Vargas walked three batters for just the second time in his four-year minor league career while yielding six hits and six runs (all earned) for his first losing decision of the season. The Dominican youngster has now allowed 14 of his 15 runs in two road starts this year.
RiverDogs shortstop Wilkerman Garcia enjoyed a standout performance at the plate in the finale, roping two doubles in his first two at-bats with an RBI and finishing 3-for-8 between both games.
After grounding out in his second at-bat, right fielder Steven Sensley threw his helmet and showed his frustration in the dugout before being benched for the remainder of the game. Catchers Jason Lopez and Eduardo Navas each made their professional debuts in the outfield to fill in the ranks over the final four innings.
The twin bill came to an obscure finish when Cabrera was called out for batter interference on a ball that skipped in the dirt as Carlos Vidal attempted to advance from first. The RiverDogs left fielder, Vidal, collected a double and an RBI knock in his final two trips to the plate to snap a 0-for-21 skid to start the season since an activation from the disabled list last week.