Big 5th Inning Dooms Dogs in Series Opener

Pita triples to plate two in the losing effort

Big 5th Inning Dooms Dogs in Series Opener
After drilling 21 doubles in the first-half, a RiverDogs record since 2011, CF Brandon Lockridge added his first following the break in an otherwise lackluster night for the Charleston offense (Photo Credit: Emma Dau).

CHARLESTON, S.C. – A sputtering Charleston offense found little respite in the opener of a seven-game homestand, as the RiverDogs fell to the Asheville Tourists 7-2 in front of 5,029 at Joe Riley Park.

The top of the fifth inning was the dagger in the figurative hearts of the RiverDogs (40-38, 3-5), as Luis Medina (1-6, 7.97) recorded just one out en route to allowing five Tourists (32-46, 3-5) to cross home plate. Medina walked Greg Jones to lead off the frame, hit Cade Harris while the left fielder was attempting to square for a bunt, and then a subsequent bunt attempt by Daniel Montano that ended up netting the Tourists’ center fielder an infield single left the bases loaded for Coco Montes.

He worked a 2-2 count, and then barreled the next pitch high and deep over the left field wall for a grand slam, putting Asheville up 4-0. Medina would allow two more soft infield singles before being yanked by manager Julio Mosquera in favor of Jhony Brito. A fifth run would score on Brito’s watch on a weak ground ball off the bat of Javier Guevara that wasn’t hit hard enough for the RiverDogs to turn two.

Medina looked fairly effective through the first four innings, keeping Asheville off the board and allowing just one hit, two walks and a hit by pitch. He encountered some bad luck to begin the fifth, though, and the wheels came off.

Offensively, Charleston couldn’t muster much against the Tourists pitching staff. Starter Alfredo Garcia (2-7, 6.87) provided his best outing since his six shutout frames on May 21 with five innings of one-hit ball Thursday night. Charleston’s lone hit off the southpaw came with two outs in the fourth, on Canaan Smith’s 17th double of the season. Lockridge added a double of his own, his 22nd, in the sixth off Colton Harlow, but Charleston’s offense was stymied through the first seven innings.

The Dogs finally cracked the scoreboard in the home half of the eighth, when Matt Pita plated Kyle Gray and Welfrin Mateo on a booming triple to left center field off of Raymells Rosa, but Pita was thrown out at home plate trying for a little league home run when the throw to third briefly got away toward the Asheville dugout. The Tourists’ lead was just too much to overcome in the end, though, as Charleston came up on the losing end for the fifth time in eight games to open the second half. The RiverDogs’ offense has gone ice cold to start the second half, dropping to a .202 team batting average that ranks second-worst in the South Atlantic League since June 18. Charleston also owns the second-worst marks in on-base percentage (.272), slugging percentage (.274) and OPS (.546) in the league in that span.

Ballpark Fun

It had been a while on account of the All-Star Break, but Budweiser Thirsty Thursday made its triumphant return to The Joe Thursday night. Fans headed up to the Ashley View Pub and enjoyed $1 beers as well as the live music played all night long by DJ Natty Heavy. Fun games such as cornhole and Giant Jenga also awaited those in attendance.

Upcoming

The RiverDogs and Tourists clash in game two of the series, as Charleston’s Nolan Martinez (1-2, 3.49) will oppose Asheville’s Ryan Feltner (3-6, 5.43). Martinez had been solid in his first four starts of the season before turning in a shaky outing last time he toed the rubber. He surrendered six runs on four hits in 3.2 innings of work on June 22 against the Hickory Crawdads as part of Charleston’s four-game series loss. Feltner is coming off a similarly disappointing start, when he allowed seven runs on 10 his in 5.1 innings pitched against the Columbia Fireflies June 23. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.