CHARLESTON, S.C. – Luis Medina turned in a strong outing in the series finale Tuesday night, but the Dogs bats weren’t able to back it up as the RiverDogs fell 4-1 to the Shorebirds in the final game of the homestand with 3,318 in the seats at Joe Riley Park.
A pair of crucial errors aided the Shorebirds’ (76-37, 28-16) cause, as the Orioles affiliate plated all four of their runs in the top of the eighth inning against the combination of Tanner Myatt (3-3, 4.35) and Carlos Espinal. JC Encarnacion, the infielder that had terrorized Charleston (58-57, 21-24) the most in the four-game series, walked with one away against Myatt, and stole his second bag of the night with Johnny Rizer at the plate. Encarnacion finished the series 8-for-17 with four runs scored.
Mickey Gasper’s throw sailed wide of the bag, which allowed Encarnacion to advance to third. It marked Charleston’s fourth error of the night, as well as the fourth bag the Dogs gifted the Shorebirds third baseman. The 6’7” righty eventually walked Rizer and was lifted in favor of Espinal. Charleston’s second reliever immediately coughed up the slim 1-0 lead held by the RiverDogs, allowing a two-run double to Zach Watson.
Espinal exhibited more wildness following the two-bagger, striking Ryne Ogren with the very next pitch and walking Seamus Curran to load the bases with one out. Edison Lantigua lined a 1-2 pitch to right fielder Frederick Cuevas, scoring two more runs.
Lantigua was able to advance to second base on the fifth miscue of the night committed by the Dogs defense, this time when Cuevas had trouble coming up with the ball. Charleston committed five errors for the second time this season, the first time coming against the Augusta GreenJackets on July 3.
Charleston cracked the scoreboard first in the bottom of the sixth inning, finally providing some support for its starter. Josh Stowers, getting a night off from the field and serving as the DH, lined a single to right field to lead off the inning, and, not unlike JC Encarnacion, utilized his blazing speed to create the contest’s first run. Stowers took off from first on a passed ball by catcher Ben Breazeale, and caught Delmarva’s defense by surprise when he slowed around second but did not stop, eventually sliding safely into third base. A wild pitch uncorked by reliever Dallas Litscher (2-0, 0.00) allowed Stowers to trot home, giving the Dogs a 1-0 lead that would last for just one full frame.
Medina turned in one of his strongest starts of the season after working around a lengthy top of the first inning. Delmarva forced 27 pitches out of the righty in the first inning, earning a single and a walk in the frame, but Medina kept his cool and forced a groundout by Seamus Curran to escape the threat.
The Dominican native took control of the game for the next four innings before being yanked by his skipper Julio Mosquera, facing just two over the minimum and striking out seven Shorebirds in five shutout innings. He allowed just two hits, and finished just three punchouts shy of tying his career-high in that category.
Charleston brought a five-game winning streak both at home and overall into the contest, also looking to take their sixth consecutive game from the Shorebirds. The defeat forces Charleston to settle for the series win, as well as taking the season series five games to three.
The Charleston RiverDogs become ‘Los Perros Santos de Charleston’ for the fourth and final time this season Tuesday night, in keeping with Minor League Baseball’s Copa de la Diversion initiative to celebrate the growing LatinX community. Los Perros Santos wore their special yellow and blue jerseys and caps, and the entire ballpark underwent a facelift to match. In addition, the first 500 fans through the gates received a Perros Santos-themed, bat-shaped maraca to help the RiverDogs faithful show their excitement during the game. It was also another Food Lion Live and Local Tuesday at the Joe, and fans toured the concourse and took in the sights, sounds and smells of the farmer’s market set up around the ballpark. Grandstand seats were available for purchase with a local ID to top off the night.