CHARLESTON, S.C. – Some late offensive life by the RiverDogs wasn’t quite enough in an early Tuesday morning tilt, as Charleston fell 7-4 in front of 5,380 at Joe Riley Park.
For the second game this series, the game was scoreless entering the sixth inning. Columbia (20-32) mounted a rally in the top of the sixth against Charleston (28-24) reliever Alex Mauricio (0-1, 47.25), making his first appearance of the season after being reinstated from the restricted list.
Mauricio struck out Chase Chambers for the first out of the frame, before allowing the next three Fireflies to reach on a single and two walks. Mauricio was well on his way to retiring Wagner Lagrange, working ahead 0-2 before heaving a mistake over the plate that Lagrange didn’t miss, parking a grand slam over the left field wall to give his team a 4-0 lead.
Columbia tacked on three more in the top of the seventh, teeing off on Mauricio some more to the tune of back-to-back doubles by Mark Vientos and Chambers and a two-run blast by the Mets’ No. 5 prospect Shervyen Newton, opening up a 7-0 lead entering the bottom half of the frame.
The RiverDogs managed something of a counterpunch after the seventh-inning stretch, plating two runs on the strength of an RBI singles by Matt Pita and Eduardo Navas. Pita’s knock followed a double by Frederick Cuevas and a throwing error by the Columbia shortstop Ronny Mauricio which allowed Max Burt to reach and Cuevas to advance to third. Mitchell Robinson then grounded into a double play to gift the Fireflies the first two outs of the frame, but Navas came through with an RBI single of his own to drive Burt home and give the Dogs their second run.
Charleston got a couple more back in the eighth and ninth on a sacrifice fly by Max Burt and an RBI single by Brandon Lockridge, but it wasn’t enough in the end.
Before the scoring, Columbia starter Jose Butto (1-6, 4.69) and RiverDogs righty Luis Gil traded scoreless frames through the first five innings. Gil was inefficient in his outing needing 88 pitches to work through five, but he rebounded from his disappointing start in Asheville on May 22 with five shutout innings to keep the Fireflies off the board.
Hundreds of kids from nearby Charleston schools played hooky and took in the series finale between the RiverDogs and Fireflies as part of the second Education Day at The Joe this season. Those in attendance sung along to well-known songs, such as the Spongebob theme song and “Let it Go” from the Disney movie, Frozen, while taking in the early 11:05 a.m. game.