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RiverDogs Hit Seven Home Runs in Doubleheader Sweep of Myrtle Beach

The Charleston RiverDogs announced their 2021 roster on Friday
The Charleston RiverDogs announced their 2021 roster on Friday(Live 5 News)
Published: Sep. 11, 2021 at 12:08 AM EDT
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Charleston, SC - The Charleston RiverDogs became the first Minor League Baseball team to reach 80 wins this season by sweeping a doubleheader from the Myrtle Beach Pelicans by scores of 7-4 and 15-1 on Friday night at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park. Over the course of the two games, the team hit seven home runs, bringing their record-breaking total to 122 this season. The twin bill was taken in by 5,217 fans.

In the opening game, it was Myrtle Beach (55-57) that struck first. Josue Huma broke up a scoreless tie in the top of the third inning with a solo home run off starter Victor Munoz. That was the only run allowed by Munoz in his 3.0 innings of work.

The RiverDogs (80-32) evened the score and then some in the bottom of the same frame. Johan Lopez tied the game on the first pitch of the stanza, launching a solo home run over the left field wall for his tenth of the season. Luis Leon followed with a single and Osleivis Basabe put the RiverDogs on top with a two-run home run, his first round-tripper since 2018. In the next at-bat, Diego Infante made it back-to-back home runs with a solo blast to right that made it 4-1. It was the team-leading 16th of the year for Infante.

The Pelicans clawed much closer in the fourth inning against reliever Luis Moncada. Kevin Made hit a leadoff double, was bunted to third by Jordan Nwogu and scored on Owen Caissie’s single. The next batter, Jacob Wetzel, worked the count into his favor and then blasted a two-run home run to pull the Pelicans within 5-4. Moncada allowed three runs on three hits in 3.0 innings, earning the victory.

In his fourth inning of work, Manuel Espinoza of Myrtle Beach retired the first two batters he faced. However, the final out proved to be elusive. Basabe singled and moved into scoring position when Infante was hit by a pitch. Tanner Murray worked a walk to chase Espinoza from the game with the bases loaded. Franki Scalzo Jr. entered from the bullpen and surrendered a two-run single up the middle to Matt Dyer to give the RiverDogs some valuable insurance and close the scoring. Joe LaSorsa earned the save by retiring the side in order in the seventh.

Dyer led the RiverDogs 11-hit attack with three of his own. Basabe, Infante and Lopez each added two, including a home run.

The nightcap began with a bang for the RiverDogs offense and never slowed down from there. On the first pitch in the bottom of the first inning, Basabe hit his second home run of the night to give the RiverDogs a 1-0 advantage. Myrtle Beach tied the score in the top of the second, but that was the only offense they could muster on three hits in the game.

The home team began to separate in the bottom of the second. Garrett Hiott led off that frame with a solo blast for his fifth home run of the season. The next batter, Jelfry Marte, was hit by a pitch and Luis Leon followed with a two-run shot of his own to make it 4-1. The long ball was Leon’s second of the season. In the third, it was Alexander Ovalles hitting his eighth home run of the season, a two-run blast, to extend the lead to 6-1.

Two big innings down the stretch allowed the RiverDogs to blow the game wide open. A four-run fourth featured RBI doubles from Tanner Murray and Beau Brundage. Leon drove in two more runs and Michael Berglund chipped in an RBI single as part of a five-run sixth inning that resulted in the lead ballooning to 15-1.

Eight of the nine players in the RiverDogs lineup collected at least one hit with four players registering multiple knocks. On his 23rd birthday, Leon went 3-4 with a home run and four runs batted in. Murray’s double allowed him to extend his hit streak to nine games, while Infante stretched his to 14 games with a sixth inning single.

Sandy Gaston earned the win on the mound by working 5.0 innings and allowing just an unearned run. He struck out six and walked a pair. Nomar Rojas and Andrew Gross closed the game with 1.0 scoreless inning each. RiverDogs pitching retired the final 12 batters that Myrtle Beach sent to the plate in the game.

Ballpark Fun

Between games of the doubleheader, fans were treated to performances featuring local children on the field. The Little Gym of Charleston-Mount Pleasant “Jet’s Performance Team” showed off their skills with a gymnastics routine. In addition, several groups of different ages from the Magnolia Dance Academy performed a series of dance routines.

The RiverDogs and Pelicans will meet again on Saturday night at 6:05 p.m. LHP Antonio Jimenez (1-0, 3.00) will start on the mound for the RiverDogs with RHP Daniel Palencia (0-0, 5.19) taking the hill for Myrtle Beach. On Patriot Day, the RiverDogs will honor first responders who were called to action on September 11, 2001 in New York City as well as local first responders in a pre-game ceremony beginning at approximately 5:30 p.m.