CHARLESTON, S.C. – It took 18 home games, but the RiverDogs finally earned a walk-off win, downing the West Virginia Power in Game 1 of the series 6-5 in front of 2,641 at Joe Riley Park. Right fielder Brandon Lockridge homered to start the game off with a bang in the bottom of the first and scampered home on a wild pitch for the walk-off winner to open a seven-day homestand.
After a scoreless top of the first by Jio Orozco, the RiverDogs (21-17) struck for the first run of the game in the home half of the frame on Brandon Lockridge’s fifth home run of the season, and his third in his last four games.
West Virginia got the run right back in the top of the second, on an RBI double by Bobby Honeyman that scored Ryan Ramiz who also doubled to lead off the inning. A wild pitch from Orozco and a throwing error allowed Honeyman to score from second base, giving the Power a 2-1 lead heading to the bottom of the second.
Power (20-17) starter Clay Chandler had Charleston all out of sorts in his six innings of work, befuddling the Dogs on his changeup that brought about swings and misses all night. He worked a scoreless second, and Orozco matched him in the top of the third.
Charleston hitters started to see Chandler better in the bottom of the third, striking for three runs on a sac fly by Lockridge and Josh Stowers’ first home run of the season, a two-run shot, to give the Dogs a 4-2 lead.
West Virginia again struck back on a rare rough night for Orozco, as Onil Pena and Jake Anchia hit the first two home runs surrendered by the Dogs righty this season to tie the game again at 4. Orozco went 37+ innings to start the season without allowing a home run.
In the fifth, it was Ryan Ramiz doing damage again, hitting an RBI double to score the Mariners’ No. 2 overall prospect Jarred Kelenic, giving the Power yet another lead in this back-and-forth affair.
It was none other than Canaan Smith in the bottom of the fifth who came through with Eduardo Torrealba on second base, as he lined a double to left field to again bring the game even for the fourth time.
The score remained deadlocked at five for the next three innings, as the Power and RiverDogs bullpens both impressed in their combined 5.1 innings. Jefry Valdez (1-1, 0.00) dominated in relief of Orozco, throwing three perfect innings with two strikeouts. Valdez has yet to allow an earned run through his first two appearances with the Dogs.
Lockridge sparked the rally in the bottom of the ninth, leading off with a single on the first pitch he saw through the hole and into right field. David Ellingson then hit Wilkerman Garcia while he was attempting to bunt Lockridge to second, and a ground ball to second off the bat of Josh Stowers led to runners on second and third for Smith.
Ellingson intentionally walked Smith in favor of Mickey Gasper, but Gasper didn’t need to take the bat off his shoulder. Ellingson uncorked a wild pitch which allowed Lockridge to come in to score the Dogs’ sixth run, walking off for the first time this season.
It was a perfectly average night at the ballpark for “C” night at Joe Riley Park. Mundane activities such as a chocolate-covered cricket eating contest and a game of Scattergories centered around the letter “C” on the side made for a night you’ll probably forget. Fans who received C’s on their report card and brought it to the game enjoyed free admission as a reward for their not-so-hard work.
It was also another Live and Local Tuesday down at the Joe, and fans walked around the concourse and took in the sights and smells of food stands set up by local farmers’ markets while enjoying live music. Fans also had the option to purchase Grandstand tickets for $5 with a local ID.