ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Charleston pitching combined to walk a season-high 12 Tourists batters as Asheville handed the RiverDogs a series loss with an 11-6 final on Friday night from McCormick Field.
While RiverDogs (25-23) pitching struggled to find the zone all night, centerfielder Josh Stowers continued to flourish on the road trip, crushing his fourth home run of the series with a solo shot in the ninth inning. With three hits on Friday night, the former Louisville Cardinal finished the four-day stint in North Carolina going 8-for-19 with four home runs and 6 RBI. Last year’s second-round selection by Seattle is now hitting .288 with five home runs with his new organization.
The longball also pushed Charleston out to an early lead when second baseman Kyle Gray touched off for his fourth of the season and second in as many days with a two-run fly over the right field porch in the second. Asheville (19-28) erased one of the runs their half of the frame, cashing in on Luis Medina’s second of seven walks on the night. After Medina (0-3) gave up a double, walked a man, and hit another to load the bases with one out in the third, Rockies No. 5 prospect Grant Lavigne cleared the bases with a smash double down the right field line, making it 4-2 Tourists. The Dogs tied it back up with a pair in the fourth before Asheville took the lead for good with a three-run fourth.
Medina was chased in the decisive fourth inning and tied a career-high issuing seven free passes on the evening. He exited after 3 1/3 innings, allowing seven runs on five hits and tossing 84 pitches, only 38 for strikes. Righty Wellington Diaz gave the RiverDogs some long relief, but similarly battled command issues, walking four after giving the go-ahead, two-run double to third baseman Danny Edgeworth in the fourth.
Left fielder Frederick Cuevas enjoyed his second three-hit game of the season, including doubling twice and scoring a pair of runs from the five-spot.
With the series defeat, the RiverDogs have now dropped nine of their last 15, but still maintain a first-place spot in the Southern Division standings that they have held since May 3. The 3 hour, 38 minute affair was Charleston’s longest nine-inning contest of the season.
The RiverDogs return home to face the Columbia Fireflies, the Class A affiliate of the New York Mets, in a four-game series starting Saturday night at 6:05 p.m. Charleston will send right-hander Roansy Contreras (3-2, 5.03) to the bump. The 19-year-old hurler shook off three early runs in his last outing, retiring 18 of the final 20 batters he faced to finish seven innings. The Yankees’ pre-season No. 7 prospect had allowed 17 runs in his previous four starts after a strong start to the season. Pregame coverage starts at 5:30 p.m. with “Saturday Dog Talk” on the RiverDogs radio network.