First baseman Chris Hess delivered with a career-best 4-for-4 night, driving in at least a run on four consecutive trips to the plate as part of a 5 RBI night to the lead the RiverDogs past Greenville, 10-4, on Saturday night in front of 4,790 faithful at Joe Riley Park.
Entering the game mired in a 1-for-31 slide, the Rhode Island product ripped two doubles and reached in all five trips in a game that was neck and neck until Charleston (33-34) exploded for five runs in the eighth. Two of Hess’ four knocks drove in go-ahead runs for the RiverDogs, who had dropped 5 of the last 7 against the Drive (23-45) after a series opening loss on Friday.
Hess’ first RBI knock broke up a 2-2 tie in the third. The third base starter in this Tuesday’s upcoming SAL All-Star Game roped a double that ricocheted off the track and off the wall to plate fellow All-Star selection Steven Sensley, who reached on a hit by pitch earlier in the inning.
In the fifth, the former 17th-rounder doubled for a second straight at-bat, drilling a two-bagger down the left field line, once again plating Sensley. The Charleston right fielder tripled to right to open the frame before trotting home to score on Hess’ second hit.
With the lead stretched to 4-2, Greenville rallied to tie it up in the sixth inning. With one out and the Charleston starter, Dalton Lehnen, already chased from the ballgame, right-hander Dalton Higgins (2-1) was called upon with the bases loaded. After coaxing a line out from Kervin Suarez, the Dallas Baptist product yielded a two out double to center fielder Lorenzo Cedrola that pulled the game back even at 4-4.
Hess untied the ballgame with his third consecutive RBI hit in the seventh, this time a single into right with two outs. Third baseman Tanner Nishioka’s costly two-out error brought the dangerous hitter to the plate for an extra chance that put Charleston in front for good, 5-4.
Hess tallied two more RBI in the five-run eighth with a single rolled on the ground through the left side.
The former Rhody Ram’s pair of doubles were his first extra-base hits since tripling on June 1 at The Joe against Delmarva. The 5 RBI was his highest mark since a two-homer day in Rome on April 9 during Opening Week.
Lehnen walked a career-high five batters while allowing four runs in his final start before the break, snapping a streak of three consecutive winning decisions.
The victory marked just Charleston’s fourth victory by six runs or more. Six RiverDogs batters enjoyed multi-hit games as the Charleston lineup tallied 16 in total, one shy of their season-high.
The RiverDogs celebrated the beautiful game with a celebration of the world’s biggest sporting event all night long, complete with soccer chants, no hands between-inning games and a nuanced display of diving by Charlie T. RiverDog. The first 1,000 fans through the gates received a RiverDogs soccer kit. The festivities wrapped up with a postgame kickaround on the field, the first time the global game was brought to The Joe.
The RiverDogs wrap up the first-half with a Father’s Day matinee on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. against the Drive. Charleston will send right-hander Deivi Garcia (0-0, 3.60) to the hill for his second start after fanning ten in his RiverDogs debut on Monday night at The Joe. Greenville will counter with righty Durin O’Linger (1-0, 0.00). For those that can’t make it out to the park, Friday’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.