NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. – The RiverDogs were a clean-inning away from securing their first shutout victory of the season before the Augusta GreenJackets rallied for three runs in the ninth to force extras and stunned Charleston 5-4 in 10 innings on Friday night at SRP Park.
With the Dogs (7-9) leading 3-0 heading to the bottom of the ninth, Rodney Hutchison, Jr. stepped back onto the mound for a fourth inning of work before proceeding to walk the first two batters of the inning and get Charleston into trouble. The inning would unravel from there and become the bullpen’s second ninth inning blown save in the last four days after coughing up a one run advantage to Greenville on Tuesday at The Joe.
First baseman Francisco Tostado tagged a double into left-center to get the GreenJackets (8-6) on the board before third baseman Jacob Gonzalez hit a chopper to short that Max Burt dove to keep in the infield for a hit that made it 3-2. After a strike out of Jeffry Parra, Wander Franco came off the bench to whack a double off the left-center field wall to score Tostado. On the same play, Gonzalez blew through a stop sign from his manager Carlos Valderrama to be easily tagged out on a relay throw in from left field. Nico Giarratano struck out to send Charleston into their first extra inning game of the year.
In the 10th, Charleston had their own play at the plate that cost them a run. After retaking the lead 4-3 on a Kyle Gray sac fly, Josh Stowers rounded third into an out at the plate on catcher Josh Breaux’s double. The baserunning mistake put a damper on the Louisville product’s spectacular night otherwise; the former Mariners second-rounder went 3-for-4 with a walk, collecting his third multi-hit game in the last four days.
Augusta plated their free runner on the first pitch of the bottom half the extra frame. Left fielder Ismael Munguia greeted Aaron McGarity (0-2, 8.64) with a double off the wall in left to tie the contest at four apiece. Four pitches later following a sac bunt, shortstop Shane Matheny laced a line drive single into right for his team-leading 15th run driven in on the year for the walk-off hit.
The comeback effort spoiled a gem by Charleston starter Luis Gil, who dominated the Augusta lineup over the first five innings. The Yankees’ No. 13 prospect came out of the gates firing bullets, setting down nine in a row with seven strikeouts over the first three innings and touching as high as 98 mph on the radar gun. The 20-year-old ended his night one shy of a career-best with nine strikeouts of one-hit baseball and just two walks.
The RiverDogs backed Gil with a pair of unearned tallies in the third thanks to two Augusta errors before third baseman Nelson Gomez laced a line drive over the wall in left-center for his second home run of the season, making it 3-0 Charleston in the sixth.