The RiverDogs committed a season-high four errors while managing just three hits for the second straight night in an 11-inning loss, 4-3, to Asheville on Wednesday night in front of 3,219 at Joe Riley Park.
With both teams beginning with a runner on second base in extras under the new Minor League Baseball pace of play rules, Braden Bristo (0-3) kept the Tourists (26-39) off the board in the 10th to set up a golden opportunity to win the game. With their own runner standing on second and one away, center fielder Leonardo Molina tattooed a ball to left-center that died at the track and allowed Eduardo Navas simply to tag up to third. That would be as far as Charleston (31-33) would get as the RiverDogs would end stranding four runners of the final four innings
In the top of the 11th, Asheville bunted their free runner over to third before third baseman Taylor Snyder cracked a fly ball out to left for a sac fly that gave Asheville a one-run advantage. Right-hander Tommy Doyle (3-4) came on for a second inning in the RiverDogs half and tossed a 1-2-3 frame to secure the victory.
It marked the second straight day that the RiverDogs only managed three hits off the Tourists’ league-worst pitching staff with the Rockies prospects entering play with a 5.22 ERA. It tied a season-low in hits for the fourth time this season. Asheville pitching has now held the RiverDogs to three runs or fewer in four of their six meetings this year. The loss marked Charleston’s 30th one-run decision, the most in the league and games in which they have gone 13-17.
Asheville took an early lead on first baseman Chad Spanberger’s 17th home run of the season in the third. The former Razorback slugger crushed a two-run blast to right to snap a 0-for-9 skid in the series to put the Tourists in front, 2-0.
In the bottom of the third, Charleston trimmed the lead in half, getting to Antonio Santos for the first time when Molina roped a leadoff triple, his fifth of the season, into the right-center alley before scoring on Carlos Vidal’s sac fly to center.
The out-of-towners capitalized on three Charleston errors in the fourth, stretching centerfielder Shael Mendoza’s single into a run after Molina booted a ball in center to advance him. Robbie Perkins reached when third baseman Dermis Garcia threw the ball over Chris Hess’s head at first that the RiverDogs first baseman then subsequently airmailed into foul territory as Mendoza hustled around to score.
Right fielder Steven Sensley pulled the RiverDogs back within a run with a towering home run to right field in the seventh, a no-doubt blast that was just the second hit of the game from the lineup. All nine of the All-Star selection’s long balls, a mark that leads the team, have been solo shots. He now owns six of the 18 total hit at Riley Park by both the RiverDogs and their opponents this year.
Rockies No. 5 prospect and shortstop Ryan Vilade watched a two-hopper skip by him into the outfield in the eighth that allowed the tying run to score. Because of the blunder, infielder Welfrin Mateo has now crossed the plate in each of his first five games as a RiverDog.
Charleston fell to 2-5 in extra inning contests on the year. It was the first time they played into the 11th inning this season.
One a night of mammoth shots and tape measure blasts, the RiverDogs celebrated one of their most prestigious alums and the reigning Rookie of the Year as the first 1,000 fans through the gates received their very own Aaron Judge tape measure, lauded as the most practical giveaway item in the minor leagues. Charleston measured up their 25th season in club history as they threw it back to $6 general admission prices and purple and teal Dogs uniforms from the 1994 inaugural season as part of a Way Back Wednesday presented by Kirkman Broadcasting.
The RiverDogs wrap up the series before kicking the Tourists out of town on Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. Charleston tosses right-hander Miguel Yajure (0-0, 6.75) to make his home debut at Riley Park. Asheville will counter with southpaw Lucas Gilbreath (4-3, 6.41). It’s a Budweiser Thirsty Thursday at The Joe, featuring dollar brews in the Budweiser Ashley View Pub. For those that can’t make it out the park, Thursday’s contest will be broadcast on 1250 WTMA in the tri-county area, with audio available at riverdogs.com and the RiverDogs TuneIn radio station.