Center fielder Pablo Olivares homered in his first two at-bats of the night and the RiverDogs combined for a season-best five long balls as Charleston rolled past Lexington, 10-4, to win their second consecutive game following the All-Star Break on Friday night at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.
Charleston (35-35, 2-0) kept finding power from unlikely sources all evening long. Olivares’ three hit effort was the 20-year-old’s first multi-home run performance of his career. The Venezuela native also set a career-high by driving in five of the ten Charleston runs. He had collected five homers in his four-year career entering the day, including just one in his first 41 games of the 2018 campaign with the Dogs.
After Olivares went deep to open the game with a line drive taken to the left field bleachers, shortstop Oswaldo Cabrera followed two batters later, with a shot popped onto the short porch in right field for the 19-year-old’s fourth round-tripper of the year, a solo shot that pushed the Holy City out to a 2-0 advantage.
Olivares flashed his pop at the plate again in the second, connecting on a three-run fly over the bleacher seats, to pad the RiverDogs’ lead to 5-0. His RBI knock chopped over the drawn in infield in the third would stretch the advantage out to the largest of the night at 8-0.
The Legends (37-33, 0-2) burst forth for their only offense of the night in the fourth when catcher MJ Melendez, the Royals’ No. 4 prospect, drilled a grand slam to left to cut the lead in half. The former second-round pick only stepped up to the plate because of a costly two-out error by Dermis Garcia, who booted a two-hopper out at third to bring up the opportunity for Melendez to connect on his 11th home run of the season.
First baseman Chris Hess and right fielder Leonardo Molina tallied solo shots for insurance in the fifth and sixth, respectively. Hess’ homer was his first since April 20 at Greensboro when he went on an early binge, homering five times in his first 14 games of the season. Molina’s marked the Dominican prospect’s first since the 2016 campaign when he clubbed a career-high nine that season, in part with the RiverDogs.
Charleston starter Miguel Yajure (2-0) cruised through the first three innings before getting into trouble in the fourth. The 20-year-old set down nine in a row to start the game and using only 22 pitches over the first three frames, extending a streak to nine consecutive innings tossed without a hit going back to his last start before Brewer Hicklen led off the fourth with a base knock.
In his first outing of the season in relief, righty Jio Orozco turned in four perfect innings to finish the game with three strikeouts.
Olivares, Molina, and Hess all enjoyed multi-hit games. After ranking second-last in the league in runs scored over the first-half, the RiverDogs offense has scored 19 runs in 17 innings so far after the All-Star break.
The RiverDogs and Legends have ripped 10 combined home runs over the first two games of the series. The six launched on Friday combined were the most seen by the RiverDogs this year.
-per Charleston RiverDogs