The Charleston RiverDogs broke up a 2-2 in the eighth inning and handed the ball to right-hander Braden Bristo, who recorded five of six outs via the punchout to finish off a three-game series sweep over the Columbia Fireflies, 4-2, on Thursday night at Spirit Communications Park.
The victory pulled the RiverDogs (29-29) back at .500 for the first time since May 9 with the Holy City taking six of their last seven games. The three wins in three days in Columbia marked their first series sweep of the season.
The Charleston bullpen wiggled their way out of danger all night long to finish off Charleston’s third straight win. Daniel Ramos (4-2) loaded up the bases with a pair of two out walks in the seventh but coaxed a ground ball out of second baseman Blake Tiberi to hold the two-run lead.
After striking out the 3 and 4-spot hitters in the eighth, Bristo issued a walk to Fireflies (28-29) All-Star Scott Manea before inducing a fly ball that was dropped in left by Pablo Olivares for an error. With men now on second and third, the former Lousiana Tech Bulldog fanned right fielder Wuilmer Becerra to keep the Dogs in front. He struck out two more in the ninth before getting Raphael Gladu to fly out to left to end the ballgame for his third save. The five strikeouts marked a new-career high for the Monroe, Louisiana product.
The Holy City broke a 2-2 tie with the help of two Columbia errors in the eighth. First baseman Miguel Flames singled and advanced on a bobbled ball in center. After Flames advanced on a wild pitch and Matt McPhearson walked, shortstop Oswaldo Cabrera stroked a single over the head of a drawn-in infield to put Charleston in front, 3-2. With one out, designated hitter Steven Sensley rolled into a potential double play that shortstop Edgardo Fermin airmailed into foul territory to allow a second run to score.
The RiverDogs drew first blood in the second. Chris Hess plated a run with a sac fly to left and right fielder Leonardo Molina cranked a run-scoring single into right as part of a two-hit night. Sensley and Olivares collected back-to-back knocks to open the frame.
Charleston starter Jio Orozco came an out shy of his second straight quality start against Columbia, going 5 2/3 with a pair of runs allowed on four hits, two walks, and three strikeouts. Three of the Tucson, Arizona native’s first four starts have all come against the Fireflies.
The RiverDogs continue to the second stop of their six-day, Palmetto State road trip, next taking on the Greenville Drive, the Class A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, in a three-game series starting on Friday at Fluor Field. The RiverDogs will send a to be determined starter to the hill to face righty Hildemaro Requena (1-1, 9.00). Friday’s series opener will be broadcast on 1250 WTMA in the tri-county area, with audio available at riverdogs.com and the RiverDogs TuneIn radio station.