CHARLESTON, S.C. – The RiverDogs received a dominant start from Luis Medina in the rubber match of the three-game set, but ultimately fell to the Rome Braves 3-1 Thursday night with 4,751 in attendance at Joe Riley Park.
The Braves (42-48, 12-9) took advantage of a shaky outing from Charleston (46-45, 9-12) reliever Tanner Myatt (3-2, 4.15) following the dominant start by Medina in the top of the seventh inning. Myatt’s command issues had been well-documented throughout his 12 previous appearances this season, as the 6’7” righty brought a 31-29 strikeout-to-walk ratio into his 13th relief outing. He walked the first three Rome hitters he faced and allowed Braves backstop Shea Langeliers to score the tying run on three wild pitches before he recorded the first out of the inning, a groundout back to the hurler off the bat of Jeremy Fernandez.
Myatt walked Brendan Venter for his fourth free pass of the night immediately after the groundout, and then allowed an RBI single to Jose Bermudez out of the nine-hole. Manager Julio Mosquera had seen enough, and lifted the Florence-Darlington Tech product in favor of Carlos Espinal. He was able to get out of the inning, but not before walking Justin Dean right out of the bullpen to force in Rome’s third run, giving the Braves their 3-1 lead.
Medina, entering Thursday’s action with an ERA north of eight, needed to piece together a good start in hope of getting his disappointing season back on track, and he certainly delivered. Rome made the Dominican hurler labor in the first inning, as Justin Dean, Drew Campbell and Braden Shewmake forced 24 pitches out of Medina, but all went down on strikes in a perfect top of the first.
The Dominican-born starter kept his foot on the gas throughout the next five innings, fanning seven more Braves hitters en route to setting a new career-high with 10 strikeouts in a career-high-tying six frames. It marked the best start for Medina since he held the Greenville Drive hitless through six innings on June 13.
Charleston broke the ice first for the third game in a row, plating the first run of the game for either club in the bottom of the fifth. Oliver Dunn led off the frame with a double against Jose Olague (8-6, 3.15), aided by a misplay in right field by Campbell. Max Burt singled him to third, and the Braves righty gifted the RiverDogs the tally on a wild pitch that allowed Dunn to score easily from third.
Olague, coming off a strong complete-game effort in his last start that narrowly missed becoming the second nine-inning shutout in franchise history, shrugged the marker off and finished with seven strong innings with just the one run allowed on six hits. The Braves righty’s night marked the fifth time this season that an opposing starter had worked seven frames against the RiverDogs.
Thursday night marked the third game this season that the RiverDogs become ‘Los Perros Santos de Charleston’ in keeping with Minor League Baseball’s ‘Copa de la Diversion’ initiative to celebrate the growing LatinX community. The Latin theme was present throughout Riley Park, from salsa dancers on the dugouts, to Spanish music played all night long, to special uniforms worn by the players made specifically for the game. To top it all off, it was another Budweiser Thirsty Thursday at the Joe, and fans made their way up to the Ashley View Pub to enjoy $1 beers. There were also fun backyard games, like Giant Jenga and cornhole set out to complete the experience.