RiverDogs Shake Slump, Break Out Late Sunday in Delmarva

RiverDogs Shake Slump, Break Out Late Sunday in Delmarva
Charleston RiverDogs

SALISBURY, Md. – The RiverDogs broke out of their recent offensive slide to rout the Shorebirds 11-4, led by left fielder Canaan Smith’s 4 RBI night on Sunday at Perdue Stadium.

The RiverDogs (52-55, 15-22) put up their highest run total in a month, eclipsing double digits for just the second time since the All-Star break, a stretch in which Charleston entered play ranking last in team OPS (.605) and second-last in runs scored (129). Trailing 3-2 headed to the fifth, the RiverDogs scored four in the sixth, the first of three-straight innings in which they sent at least seven men to the plate.

Smith added most of the insurance on the night, lacing a double in the opposite way to plate a pair in the seventh before lashing a single into left in the eighth to push the Holy City out to their largest lead of the night. With two walks, the Rockwall, Texas product continued a torrid month of July in which the MVP candidate has hit .380 (30-for-79) while reaching base in 20 of 24 games.

Designated hitter Mickey Gasper provided the early pop, ripping a two-run homer, his seventh of the year with the RiverDogs, for Charleston’s first hit of the contest in the fourth. He took southpaw Ryan Wilson (5-4) deep, pushing the RiverDogs in front 2-1 at the time. Gasper joined Welfrin Mateo as just the second RiverDog to collect a second home run following the All-Star break. The RiverDogs rank last with just nine round-trippers in the second half, 38 fewer than the Hickory Crawdads who lead the league in that span.

Outside of the home run, the Yankees affiliate found little success against Wilson until taking the lead from the Delmarva (73-33, 25-12) starter in the fourth. Three straight men reached to open the inning against him. Gasper drew a bases-loaded walk to pull the game even before Eric Wagaman lined a single into center field to put Charleston in front for good, both inherited runs that Ruben Garcia saw cross the play after being called upon from the bullpen.

Harold Cortijo showed uncharacteristic signs of poor command, walking a career-high six over four-plus innings. The former Maryland Gatorade Player of the Year finished with a solid final line of just three runs (two earned) allowed, in part thanks to some fine work from Dalton Lehnen (W, 3-1) out of the bullpen. The Minnesota southpaw stranded both inherited runs and fanned a season-high six over 3 1/3 innings. His only blemish came on an inside-the-park homer when right fielder Frederick Cuevas and Eduardo Torrealba collided chasing after a flair off Zach Watson’s bat in the sixth. Cuevas exited the game following the collision.