Blue Ridge Woes, RiverDogs Walked Off on to Drop Third Straight

Blue Ridge Woes, RiverDogs Walked Off on to Drop Third Straight
Charleston RiverDogs

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Following an 11-2 run to open up the month of the August, the RiverDogs have now dropped three straight to fall to five games back in the playoff race. The RiverDogs led for the first eight and a half innings on Saturday night before catcher Willie MacIver unloaded a two-run, walk-off blast as the first-place Tourists roared past Charleston 6-5 for their fourth straight win at McCormick Field.

Charleston (64-61, 27-28) has now dropped their last four contests in Asheville (61-64, 32-23), falling to 2-8 on the season at McCormick Field. After entering the series only two games behind the Rockies affiliate in the second-half standings, the Dogs’ playoff chances dwindled with only 15 games remaining. The three-game losing streak is Charleston’s first since July 16-18. Before Friday, they had not lost back-to-back games since July 26-27.

In the silver linings department, 19-year-old shortstop Oswald Peraza continued to impress, collecting his second three-hit game with the RiverDogs, including drilling his first home run with Charleston out to left-center in the second, at the time pushing the Holy City out to a 5-1 lead.

The RiverDogs jumped on Asheville starter Jake Bird early, cashing in for four runs on five hits. Five straight Charleston hitters reached to open the inning, including designated hitter Josh Breaux, who smacked a two-run double off the left-center wall. The second-rounder now has an impressive 39 runs driven in in 37 games this year. His slugging percentage rose to over .500 on the season in what was his seventh game back after a return from the injured list.

After trading runs in the first two innings and Charleston coming out ahead, 5-2, the game settled down until the sixth when right fielder Daniel Montano took Harold Cortijo deep when the Dogs’ 20-year-old starter was nearing the end of his night. The two-run shot was the 20-year-old Venezuelan outfielder’s seventh of the season, making it 5-4.

Dalton Lehnen impressively wriggled in and out of jams in the seventh and eighth, including getting out of a bases loaded, nobody out jam in the former. The Minnesota-born southpaw came back on for the ninth inning and allowed a one-out double to first baseman Grant Lavigne before falling behind 2-0 on MacIver who delivered the game-winner.

The Tourists had baserunners in every inning and stranded 11 on the night. The Rockies affiliate improved to a league-best 21-9 at home in the second-half. The four-run deficit marked their biggest comeback win of the year.