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RiverDogs Fall 5-2 in Final Game of Regular Season

VIDEO: RiverDogs Can’t Hold Late Lead, Drop Third Straight in Extras
VIDEO: RiverDogs Can’t Hold Late Lead, Drop Third Straight in Extras
Published: Sep. 19, 2021 at 9:07 PM EDT
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Kinston, NC - The Charleston RiverDogs were held without a hit until the eighth inning in a 5-2 loss to the Down East Wood Ducks on Sunday afternoon at Grainger Stadium. The game brought an end to the regular season with the club now turning their attention to the Low-A East Championship Series which begins on Tuesday against an opponent to be determined. 

The Wood Ducks (72-48) needed a victory to keep their playoff hopes alive and took advantage of a mistake-filled first inning by the RiverDogs to grab the lead. Jayce Easley led off the bottom of the frame with a double to center field. 

Luisangel Acuna followed with a walk and when pitcher Franklin Dacosta committed a throwing error on Aaron Zavala’s groundball, Down East took a 1-0 lead. Cristian Inoa’s sacrifice fly made it 2-0 before an errant pickoff throw and a balk by Dacosta allowed another run to cross home plate. A solo home run from Keyber Rodriguez in the fourth inning made it 4-0 in the home team’s favor. 

Defense let the RiverDogs (82-28) down once again in the sixth inning, leading to the Wood Ducks final run.  Cody Freeman reached on an error, proceeded to steal second and third base and scored on Rodriguez’s single up the middle to build the lead to 5-0.  As Down East was adding to the lead, the RiverDogs were struggling to solve Wood Ducks starter Owen White. 

The right-hander held them without a hit until the eighth inning and finished his night with 11 strikeouts. With one out in the eighth inning, Johan Lopez registered the team’s first hit with a single to left field.  Later in the frame, Patrick Merino connected on his fourth home run of the season to cut the deficit to 5-2.  Aside from a single in the ninth, the RiverDogs were unable to muster any other offense the rest of the way. 

Dacosa was dealt the loss after surrendering four runs, three of them earned, in 4.0 innings of work. The game was finished by four different relievers who threw 1.0 inning each.  Juan Rivera, Joe LaSorsa and Neraldo Catalina each held Down East off the board.  Audry Lugo allowed one unearned run in his inning on the hill.

The RiverDogs will battle either Down East or Salem in the championship series.  The series will begin with road games Tuesday, September 21 and Wednesday, September 22 before shifting to Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park on Friday, September 24 for game three.  Games four and five would also be held in Charleston on September 25 and 26, if necessary.