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RiverDogs Walk-Off in Nightcap to Split Doubleheader with Columbia

The RiverDogs earned their 51st win of the season on Tuesday with an extra innings victory over...
The RiverDogs earned their 51st win of the season on Tuesday with an extra innings victory over Columbia(Charleston RiverDogs)
Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 10:13 AM EDT
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Charleston, SC — The Charleston RiverDogs and Columbia Fireflies played 16 innings of baseball over the course of six hours on Tuesday night at Joseph. P. Riley, Jr. Park. In the end, the teams split a twin bill with Columbia winning the first game 2-0 and the RiverDogs bouncing back for a 5-4, extra-inning, walk-off win in the second contest. The games were played in front of 3,060 fans.

The opening game began from where it was halted by rain on June 12, with a 0-0 score entering the bottom of the second inning. Columbia (36-36) started quickly against RiverDogs starter Jose Lopez and did all their damage in the first two innings. Matt Schmidt led off the third inning with a single, went to second on a wild pitch and scored on Diego Hernandez’s single to give the Fireflies a 1-0 lead.

In the next inning, a walk from Burle Dixon with one out was followed by back-to-back singles from Felix Familia and Herard Gonzalez to double the lead. Lopez was handed the loss after allowing two runs on four hits over 5.0 innings.

The RiverDogs did not have a hit in the first inning against Matt Stil on June 12 and could not muster one against Anderson Paulino during his 6.0 innings on the mound either. The team did not register a hit until Abiezel Ramirez lined the first pitch of the eighth inning down the left field line for a double. That turned out to be the final hit of the game for the RiverDogs as they were held to their lowest total of the season.

In the second game, Columbia again wasted no time in taking the lead. Gage Hughes rolled a single through the left side with one out and scored when Herard Gonzalez tripled in the next at bat. Alexander Ovalles prevented further damage by sprinting from center field to shallow left to catch Juan Carlos Negret’s fly ball and fire a bullet to the plate to cut down Gonzalez trying to score.

Heriberto Hernandez hit the first of his two home runs in the game in the bottom of the second to put the RiverDogs (51-21) in front. The two-run blast was his eighth of the season and gave the home team a 2-1 lead.

Columbia answered to tie the game on a sacrifice fly in the top of the third, but Hernandez hit another home run, this time a solo shot that put Charleston back on top 3-2. Against Audry Lugo, the Fireflies tied the game in the sixth inning and took the lead in the seventh.

The RiverDogs came to the plate in the last of the seventh needing at least one run to extend the game. It didn’t take long to get that one run, as Jonathan Embry launched the first pitch of the inning over the right field wall for his seventh home run of the season to tie the score 4-4.

In extra innings, neither team could score in the eighth and Neraldo Catalina held Columbia off the board again in the ninth. Alexander Ovalles bunted the winning run to third, causing Columbia to intentionally walk the next two hitters to load the bases. Osleivis Basabe worked the count full and then drove a fly ball to deep right field for a walk-off single.

Catalina earned the win by tossing 2.0 scoreless innings and striking out three. In his RiverDogs debut, starter Franklin Dacosta worked 5.0 innings and allowed two runs on five hits.

Hernandez paced the offense by going 2-2 with two home runs and two intentional walks. Basabe also collected two hits. Columbia received two each from Hughes and Negret.

Ballpark Fun

With a doubleheader to open the series, first pitch for game one was at 5:05 p.m. Many of the early arrivals to the ballpark to catch one took advantage of Dog Day presented by Island Coastal Lager and brought their four-legged friends along with them. Throughout the doubleheader, canines were featured in between-inning entertainment including peanut butter licking showdowns and fans lifting their dogs high in the air for “Simba Cam”.

The RiverDogs and Fireflies will a single game on Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m. Charleston will start RHP Seth Johnson (3-4, 4.62) in a meeting with Columbia LHP Rylan Kaufman (2-3, 4.71). It will be Kooks vs. Pogues Night at The Joe with a visit from actor Charles Esten. Fans can receive $5 off Diamond View seats by using the code word “KOOKS” or $5 off General Admission tickets with the code word “POGUES” at riverdogs.com.