Center fielder Pablo Olivares continued to rake against South Atlantic League pitching with his tenth multi-hit game of the month, but the Charleston RiverDogs were stymied by the Columbia Fireflies, 3-2, in front of 3,013 on Tuesday at Joe Riley Park.
Olivares improved to .385 (30-for-78) in the month of May with his 2-for-3 performance, leading all SAL hitters during the second month of the campaign. The Venezuelan outfielder drove in the Holy City’s (23-27) first run in the second inning when he smoked a 2-2 pitch from Jake Simon off the scoreboard in left centerfield for a double, scoring designated hitter Dermis Garcia from second base.
Right-hander Janson Junk took the mound for the RiverDogs on Tuesday, settling in after a lengthy first inning. Junk needed nearly 30 pitches to get through a scoreless first but got help from Olivares when he made a diving catch in center for the second out of the inning. As Edgardo Fermin was running home for the would-be first run of the game on the same play, Olivares doubled off Blake Tiberi at second base for the inning-ending double play.
Piggy-back hurler Dalton Higgins (1-1) relieved Junk with two outs in the fifth, and a bases-loaded wild pitch allowed Hansel Moreno to score the tying run. An unearned run in the sixth inning gave Columbia (27-22) its first lead, putting Higgins on the hook for the loss.
Righty Chad Martin continued his phenomenal season with 1 1/3 scoreless innings to keep within striking distance, striking out two in his hitless frames. Martin held his ERA to 0.00 and has allowed just four hits in 18 2/3 innings. No other pitcher in Minor League baseball has thrown at least 17 innings with four or less hits allowed this season.
Olivares reached for the third time with a ninth-inning single but was stranded as the tying run as Briam Campusano (1-0) capped off five scoreless innings by striking out the side in to end the game.
With the 3-2 finish, Charleston now leads its season series with Columbia, 5-4, with eight of nine games being separated by two or less runs. Charleston has now played in a South Atlantic League-high 34 games which have been decided by one or two runs.
It was another a Live & Local Tuesday at the ballpark, with live music heard throughout the concourse from Tyrannical Wrecks. Also, a local restaurant pop-up from Castejons, a farmers’ market on the concourse, and the Dogs welcomed former Hootie & the Blowfish member Mark Bryan as the guest PA announcer.
Wednesday is Education Day at Joe Riley Park, with first pitch at 11:05 a.m. Over 5,000 students will be in attendance as Citadel product JP Sears (0-3, 2.08) will matchup with Columbia righty Tony Dibrell (1-2, 4.23). Wednesday’s game will be broadcast exclusively on riverdogs.com and the RiverDogs TuneIn radio station.