CHARLESTON, S.C. – An early offensive strike from the Intimidators was too much for Charleston to overcome in the end, as the Dogs fell to Kannapolis 5-2 in the series finale in front of 4,829 at Joe Riley Park Sunday night.
With their playoff hopes on life support, Charleston (67-65, 30-32) needed to break out of the offensive funk the club has been mired in the past few games. With only two runs scored Sunday night, Charleston has now been held to just eight runs in their last 52 innings since the four-run first frame against the West Virginia Power August 20. The loss, coupled with the Asheville Tourists 7-6 comeback victory over the Greenville Drive, puts the RiverDogs five games back of the Rockies affiliate with eight games to play.
The Intimidators (59-71, 31-31) jumped on starter Harold Cortijo (4-4, 3.48) quickly in the series finale. Lenyn Sosa drew a free pass in the top of the first inning, one that Cortijo was able to work around before again running into trouble in the second. A pair of walks, contributing to a total of three on the night for Cortijo, came back to haunt the Charleston righty. Corey Zangari drew a free pass to lead off the inning, and Ramon Beltre did the same with one out. Gunnar Troutwine stepped to the plate next, lining a double down the left field line that plated both Kannapolis runners and staking the Intimidators to an early 2-0 lead.
The RiverDogs answered the White Sox affiliate’s runs with one of their own in the bottom of the third, when the Holy City was able to take advantage of a one-out single by Frederick Cuevas.
It was Brandon Lockridge’s turn against Davis Martin (8-9, 5.06), and he lined an 0-1 offering over Tyler Osik’s head in left field. Cuevas was able to score easily on the Troy product’s 32rd double of the season.
Martin didn’t let the double break his rhythm, retiring 11 of the next 15 hitters en route to finishing seven innings for the third time this season. He faced the minimum in four of his seven innings and allowed just the single tally on six hits.
Kannapolis nicked Cortijo for two more in the top of the fifth inning, on a two-run homer from Alex Destino, his second home run in the series. It was also the second time he reached the batter’s eye in straightaway center field, and now 12 of his 16 long balls have come since the All-Star Break.
Tim Hardy relieved Cortijo in the sixth and held Kannapolis off the board until an RBI single from Lenyn Sosa, one of two on the night for the center fielder, plated Ian Dawkins reached on one of his two doubles.
Lockridge smacked his second double of the game with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, giving him 33 on the season and the most two-baggers since Isiah Gilliam’s 33 for the Holy City in 2017.