CHARLESTON, S.C. – The RiverDogs surrendered double-digit runs to the Augusta GreenJackets for the second consecutive night, falling to Augusta 11-8 in the homestand finale Wednesday night in front of 6,471 at Joe Riley Park.
Charleston (43-41, 6-8) was playing from behind right from the start, as a much-maligned Luis Medina (1-7, 8.38) couldn’t work around some sloppy defense in the top of the first inning en route to allowing three Augusta (45-37, 9-5) runs before the Dogs had a chance to hit. The Holy City defense committed three miscues in the top of the first, one each from Matt Pita, Eduardo Navas and Mickey Gasper. The GreenJackets took advantage of each extra out they were gifted, plating the three early markers on a single by Jacob Gonzalez and a two-run homer by Zander Clarke, his first long ball of the season with Augusta and his second this season overall. The three first-inning errors contributed a total of five on the night for Charleston, marking a new season-high.
The Dominican-born righty, entering the season rated as highly as 11th overall in the Yankees’ farm system by Baseball America and 14th by MLB.com before the start of the season, hasn’t had an easy 2019. In his 14 starts, he’s held his opponent scoreless just one time, and has allowed more than three runs in eight of those outings.
Charleston answered Augusta’s three runs with two of their own in the home half of the frame off starter Keaton Winn, on two consecutive run-scoring singles by Mickey Gasper and Max Burt to cut the GreenJackets’ lead to one.
More of the same reared its ugly head for Medina in the top of the second, though, as two more runs scored on his watch on two RBI singles by Diego Rincones and Clarke to extend the Augusta lead to 5-2. Rincones had especially hurt Charleston throughout the series, finishing the set 5-for-13 with two doubles, two runs scored and three RBI.
Winn needed to be taken out following the first, and JJ Santa Cruz came in and held Charleston off the board for the next two frames before the Dogs finally mustered another counterpunch in a lengthy fourth inning that saw eight total runs scored between the two teams, three by Charleston and five by Augusta. The Dogs emerged the frame trailing 10-5.
Charleston scored three more in the home half of the eighth inning and held Augusta to one more run the rest of the way, receiving two scoreless innings from Ron Marinaccio out of the ‘pen, but the lead was just too great to overcome in the end. The loss drops the Dogs to two games under .500 since the All-Star Break at 6-8, and they have now lost seven of 10 total meetings with Augusta this year. The last time Charleston surrendered double-digit runs in back-to-back games was August 12-13 of 2015 on the road against the Lexington Legends, and the last time at home came in May of 2012 against the Greenville Drive.
The 3:52 contest also marked the longest nine-inning game for the RiverDogs since July 1, 2014, when the RiverDogs visited the Savannah Sand Gnats at Historic Grayson Stadium in a 3:54 affair.
Holy City fans kicked off their 4th of July celebrations a night early with a special Independence Day edition of RiverDogs baseball presented by WOW! Cable. Everyone who came out to catch the game was handed an American Flag replica on the way in, and many stuck around for a postgame fireworks display to get warmed up for the special day tomorrow.