CHARLESTON, S.C. – It didn’t have the same drama as the last two victories but it counted just the same, as the RiverDogs cruised to a 5-0 win to complete the three-game sweep of the West Virginia Power in front of 4,077 at Joe Riley Park Thursday night.
A two-run home run by third baseman Max Burt, in his first game with the RiverDogs (23-17) since April 19, and a two-run single off the bat of DH Josh Breaux, making his return to the lineup after missing the last three games nursing a pair of injuries, provided all the run support right-hander Luis Gil (2-2) needed as he worked six shutout innings to lower his ERA down to a minuscule 0.82 on the season.
Burt started the season with the RiverDogs, hitting .171 in ten games before receiving a call-up to the High-A Tampa Tarpons on April 22. Now back with Charleston after infielder Wilkerman Garcia hit the IL, Burt swung at the first pitch he saw and lined a two-run home run out to left-center field in the bottom of the second.
The blast was Burt’s second of the season and first as a RiverDog, giving him his fourth and fifth RBI of the season with the Holy City.
Making his seventh start of the season, Gil didn’t have the same gaudy strikeout numbers he had racked up to start the season, but was equally effective. He fanned just four in the contest, ending his four-game streak of eight or more strikeouts, but some exceptional plays in the infield by Burt, second baseman Ricky Surum, catcher Mickey Gasper and an outfield assist by right fielder Brandon Lockridge helped keep the Power (20-19) off the scoreboard.
Gil retired the first nine hitters he faced, before allowing a leadoff single by Johnny Slater in the fourth. Before the knock, Gil had set down 20 straight hitters dating back to his last start at home against the Columbia Fireflies. Slater advanced 90 feet on a single by J.R. Davis, and on a two-out base hit to right he attempted to score to get his team on the board for the first time.
Lockridge had other ideas, and made a perfect throw to Gasper to get his man at the plate.
The Dogs tagged West Virginia starter Damon Casetta-Stubbs (2-2) for two more in the fifth, when Breaux plated Eduardo Torrealba and Lockridge, who reached on a single and a walk, with a line drive single down the left field line.
Gil was relieved by Jhony Brito in the seventh, who sealed the sweep with three innings of one-hit ball, earning his second save of the season and lowering his ERA to a glistening 1.08.
Charleston tacked on one more for good measure in the bottom of the eighth on a bases loaded walk to Ricky Surum, pushing the Dogs out to the 5-0 lead by which they would eventually prevail.
Fans who came out for Thursday night’s contest were treated to something extra. Those in attendance had the chance to go up to the Ashley View Pub and enjoy $1 beers as part of another Thirsty Thursday down at The Joe.