LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Charleston RiverDogs built early leads that they twice saw erased as they were swept by the Lexington Legends in a Saturday night doubleheader by final scores of 6-4 and 7-2 at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.
Charleston’s (29-26) doubleheader woes this season continued as it marked the second time they were swept in both games of a makeup schedule change, including a forgettable 25-6 combined score of a twin bill in Asheville on April 9 during Opening Week.
Centerfielder Brandon Lockridge continued to showcase his power stroke from the leadoff spot despite the rough night for the RiverDogs, including hammering a 3-1 offering into the bleacher seats in left for a two-run homer that gave Charleston an early 3-0 lead in game one. It marked the second straight game with a homer for the Troy University product and his sixth in the last 19 games. Last year’s 5th round pick by the Yankees now leads the RiverDogs with eight homers on the season as is tied with the injured Josh Breaux for the team-lead with 30 RBI. In 50 games as Charleston’s leadoff hitter, he’s now slugging .478 with a career-best mark in home runs; he had never hit more than six in a single-season at the collegiate level and just one in his pro debut last season. Lockridge and Canaan Smith have both each reached base in 19 consecutive games after at least one trip aboard in each game on Saturday.
After Lexington (25-28) answered back with a pair in the second off Charleston starter Luis Medina, Palmetto State native Reed Rohlman singled to drive in a leadoff walk in the third, pulling the contest even at three apiece.
Medina yielded three runs, needing 85 pitches to fight through four innings and finished with seven strikeouts to five walks. Wellington Diaz (2-1) took over in a tie ballgame in the fifth. After issuing a leadoff walk and a base hit to Freddy Fermin, he gave up a three-run homer to Chase Vallot on a 1-0 mistake fastball with a base open and one out, the ninth of the season for the Legends’ designated hitter.
Max Burt also went deep for a second straight game, leading off the seventh inning with his fourth blast with the RiverDogs this year to put Charleston within a pair. The Dogs got the tying run on first base, but Canaan Smith struck out looking representing the go-ahead tally at the plate.
After allowing the home run to Lockridge, Legends starter Jon Heasley (5-2) retired 13 of the next 14 he faced to keep Charleston’s lineup in check and seal the win.
In game two, the Dogs and Legends traded runs back-and-forth until Lexington showcased their collective team speed to break a 2-2 tie in the fifth. Blazing centerfielder Michael Gigliotti reached on an error by second baseman Kyle Gray and stole a base, his league-leading 22nd of the year, before scoring from second on burner Nathan Eaton’s infield hit, giving Lexington the lead for good. Seven straight men reached with two outs in the bottom of the sixth for Lexington to open up the lead to 7-2 against reliever Jefry Valdez.
Righty Roansy Contreras (4-3) fanned a season-high nine batters, but his four runs (three earned) allowed over 5 2/3 innings saddled him with the loss in the night cap.
The RiverDogs wrap up the first leg of their road trip on Sunday afternoon, taking on the Legends at 2:05 p.m. at Whitaker Bank Ballpark. The RiverDogs will throw right-hander Nolan Martinez (0-0, 2.08) in the series finale. The 20-year-old hurler will make his second start of the season after retiring 17 of 21 batters faced, including seven strikeouts, in his last outing on Sunday against Columbia at The Joe. The Legends will counter with righty Jonathan Bowlan (3-2, 3.48), the Royals’ No. 24 prospect as tabbed by the MLB Pipeline.