ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The RiverDogs offense broke out of their recent skid to back a strong start from right-hander Roansy Contreras as they shook a four-game losing streak with a 6-2 win over Asheville in Monday night’s road trip opener from McCormick Field.
Charleston’s offense rode the long ball on the evening early to break out of a tough stretch. The RiverDogs (68-65, 31-32) had scored just eight runs over their previous 54 innings until Canaan Smith drilled a three-run homer over the right field scoreboard to break the scoreless tie in the top of the third.
Smith’s chance was set up against Frederis Parra (L, 3-4), who gave up a pair of singles and hit leadoff man Brandon Lockridge in between to load up the bases with nobody out. The Tourists (64-69, 35-28) nearly got out of the jam with the help of some excellent defense, first baseman Grant Lavigne went home for a force out at the plate hit into by Josh Breaux before catcher Willie MacIver caught Lockridge off the bag with a pickoff to third. Smith worked a 3-1 count before Parra grooved him a fastball that he didn’t miss for his 11th home run of the season to pull one shy of Lockridge for the team lead.
Second baseman Eduardo Torrealba made it 5-0 an inning later when he drove a fly ball to right-center for his first home run of the season. It was just the Venezuela native’s third professional home run and snapped an over two-year drought; the middle infielder had not gone deep since August 22, 2017 as an 18-year-old with the Pulaski Yankees. First baseman Eric Wagaman doubled to open the inning and put traffic on before the round-tripper.
The two long balls backed another superb outing from Contreras (W, 11-5) who continued to pitch on another level since late-June. The 19-year-old starter fanned six across six innings of one-run ball with his lone blemish coming on a two-out homer to shortstop Coco Montes in the fourth, making it 5-1.
Contreras got into a jam in what would be his final inning of work in the sixth, putting two on with nobody out on a walk and a single but went on to retire the next three in a row. Since June 29, the Dominican Republic native has gone at least five innings in 10 straight starts, permitting no more than three earned runs in each outing, a span in which he holds a 1.98 ERA. The right-hander has dragged his overall ERA from 4.81 to a 3.49 mark during that period.
Keegan Curtis recorded a scoreless seventh and eighth to keep Charleston’s momentum rolling on the mound before running into trouble in the ninth. After allowing the first two batters of the inning to reach, Ron Marinaccio came on and prevented the tying run from coming to the plate and allowing one inherited runner to cross on a sac fly to seal the victory.