CHARLESTON, S.C. – Some late inning offensive heroics by center fielder Brandon Lockridge and right fielder Josh Stowers helped lead the RiverDogs to their third straight win over the Columbia Fireflies, 6-3, with 4,192 in attendance Thursday night at Joe Riley Park.
On a night when Charleston (19-14) starter Daniel Bies (2-1, 3.99) fought his command through five innings, his offense picked him up en route to the club’s fourth straight win, and 11th of its last 13. Lockridge led the way with a three-hit night, his fourth straight contest with multiple hits, including the game-winning RBI in the bottom of the seventh.
Bies ran into trouble right away, allowing a one out single to Brian Sharp in the top of the first inning and surrendering a long two-run shot to third baseman Mark Vientos, leaving Charleston heading to the bat rack down 2-0.
The Dogs responded with a run of their own in the home half of the inning, when Lockridge led off the frame with a single off Fireflies (9-23) righty Willy Taveras (2-4, 3.97). He swiped second and advanced to third on a throwing error by catcher Juan Uriarte to set up a prime scoring chance for Wilkerman Garcia. He fanned looking, but Josh Stowers came through out of the three-spot with a sac fly, cutting Columbia’s lead in half.
Bies and Taveras traded scoreless half innings in the second before the Dogs took the lead in the bottom of the third. Three doubles by Lockridge, Garcia and Josh Breaux making his first start since May 4 had Charleston back in front and Bies off the hook entering the fourth. The three doubles added to a total of seven on the night for Charleston, a new team season-high and the most two-baggers hit by a RiverDogs squad in one game since June 15, 2015 against the Asheville Tourists. Breaux has now driven in at least one run in all eight games of his hitting streak, for a total of 18 over that span.
Bies was able to work the next two innings without allowing another tally, but his lofty pitch total of 93 forced him from the game after working five frames of two-run ball, allowing six hits and one walk. He struck out five to bring his season total to 39.
Anderson Muñoz came on in relief of Bies in the sixth and set down the first two Fireflies he faced before surrendering a long solo home run to Uriarte, his first long ball of the season, to tie the game at three.
It didn’t take long for the offense to pick up its pitcher once again, as the Dogs rallied for three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. Eric Wagaman lined the first pitch he saw into the left field corner for a leadoff double, his first hit of the game. He was injured shortly after reaching second base, though, and Eduardo Navas came off the bench to pinch-run. A passed ball by Uriarte allowed Navas to reach third, and following a walk to Eduardo Torrealba, Lockridge came through again, breaking the ice with an RBI groundout to put Charleston ahead 4-3.
The Dogs tacked on two more on an RBI double by Stowers and a wild pitch by Fireflies reliever Chris Viall allowed Wilkerman Garcia, who was intentionally walked, to scamper home with Charleston’s sixth run.
Muñoz settled in after allowing the home run, going on to pitch the final four innings and allowing just the home run and two walks, fanning three.
The win marked Charleston’s eighth in 10 games against Columbia this season and brought them to 8-8 at home this season. Also of note, with a double in the bottom half of the second inning, outfielder Canaan Smith extended his SAL-leading hitting streak to 13 games.
The first rule of this promotion is you don’t talk about this promotion. In honor of the 20th Anniversary of the movie Fight Club, fans received a bar of soap as they entered the park, with a baseball-themed twist: the soap smells like a baseball glove! The fun didn’t stop there, though, as fans enjoyed $1 beers as part of another Thirsty Thursday at Joe Riley Park and wandered around haplessly for a photo opportunity with Tyler Durden all night long.