LEXINGTON, Ky. – Right-hander Nolan Martinez answered the call for the second straight Sunday and delivered for the RiverDogs, turning in a career-best seven shutout innings as Charleston blanked the Lexington Legends, 5-0, to force a series split on Sunday afternoon at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.
Martinez (1-0) continued to impress in his newfound role in the starting rotation. After making his season debut in relief, he worked an economical 5 2/3 innings, needing only 74 pitches and allowing just one earned run last Sunday against Columbia. In his first outing on the road, he took it a step even further, marching through the seventh inning for the first time in his career and using a deceptive fastball-curveball mix to strike out four Legends hitters, allowing just four total baserunners in the outing.
The RiverDogs (30-26) took advantage of several Lexington (26-28) mistakes, including three errors in the contest, to back Martinez’s terrific effort. In the third, centerfielder Brandon Lockridge reached on a two-out walk and used his wheels to go first to third on a Kyle Gray single before eventually scoring on a passed ball, the only run southpaw Evan Steele (0-1) would allow in four innings to take the loss. Lockridge went 0-for-3, but with a pair of walks extended his on-base streak to 20 consecutive games.
Charleston capitalized on two Legends errors in the fifth to push another pair across. After a one-out misplay at second allowed Gray to reach and put runners at the corners, left fielder Canaan Smith put a ball in play for a ground out that scored a run to make it 2-0 Charleston. A wild pitch from reliever Yohonse Morel scored another to extend the lead to 3-0.
In the sixth, third baseman Max Burt rocketed a leadoff home run out to left, his third in four days in Lexington. The Northeastern product now has hit all five of his home runs with Charleston since returning from Extended Spring Training on May 16.
Smith collected his 20th RBI of the season, but failed to reach base, ending his on-base streak at 19 straight games.
Aaron McGarity worked the final two innings to finish off Charleston's fourth shutout win of the season.