The Charleston RiverDogs went 11 innings for the second time in the last three meetings with the Asheville Tourists, falling 6-5 to snap Charleston’s three-game winning streak following the All-Star break on Sunday evening at McCormick Field.
After starting both extra frames with a runner on second, the RiverDogs failed to capitalize on their chances before Asheville (30-43, 3-1) used a suicide squeeze by center fielder Shael Mendoza to win the game with left fielder Casey Golden taking off on first move by right-hander Dalton Higgins (2-2) to steal the series opener from the Dogs.
The RiverDogs went 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position in the game, stranding 11 runners, including five over the final three innings. The loss dropped Charleston to 2-6 in extra inning contests this year. It marked the second time in the last three meetings that the Rockies affiliate won a game against Charleston in 11 innings after stealing one at The Joe on June 13.
The game would have ended in walk-off fashion after nine had it not been for a game-saving play by center fielder Pablo Olivares, who slid feet first at the warning track to rob Tourists second baseman Bret Boswell of a walk-off knock and send the game to extras.
The Tourists rallied after an hour and 40-minute rain delay that interrupted the contest in the bottom half of the sixth and Charleston leading at the time, 5-4. Two RiverDogs errors out of the break helped Asheville plate the tying run in the seventh, including a two-out dropped ball by Chris Hess at second that allowed the tying run to score.
Oswaldo Cabrera and Steven Sensley roped back-to-back home runs on consecutive pitches to push the RiverDogs out to a 4-0, first-inning lead. Sensley’s booming fly to right was the lefty’s team-leading 10th of the season and carried well past the short porch in right, traveling an estimated 427 feet. It marks his second straight season reaching double figures in the power department; the Yankees’ 12th round pick out of Lousiana-Lafayette last summer now has 23 long balls over his first 116 career games in the minors. His back-to-back blast with Cabrera marked the third time this season Sensley followed a teammate with a home run of his own.
Cabrera got the RiverDogs on the board, following an Olivares single and a Wilkerman Garcia walk with a three-run fly to right-center, the 19-year-old’s fifth of the season and third in his last five games.
Asheville got on the board with an RBI double from Matt McLaughlin in the third and used a pair of home runs to get back into the game.
-per Charleston RiverDogs