RiverDogs Win Thrilling Game to Open Low-A East Championship Series
Kinston, NC - The Charleston RiverDogs took game one of the Low-A East Championship Series by a 4-2 score on Tuesday night at Grainger Stadium. Seven-hitter Johan Lopez drove in two runs, including the winning run in the fifth inning. The RiverDogs have a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five series.
The RiverDogs (1-0) scored the game’s first run in the top of the second inning. Jonathan Embry beat the shift with an infield single to the left side to spark the attack. Lopez and Alexander Ovalles each walked to load the bases, setting the stage for Michael Berglund. The catcher hit a groundball to the left side that was knocked down by third baseman Cody Freeman. Freeman tried to tag Lopez on his way to third, but the runner eluded it allowing a run to score.
The lead was short-lived as the Wood Ducks (0-1) responded immediately in the bottom of the second. Cristian Inoa and Cody Freeman hit back-to-back solo home runs off of starter Ben Brecht to put Down East on top 2-1. Those were the only runs allowed by Brecht as he earned the win by tossing 5.2 innings and scattering four hits.
Lopez opened the fourth inning with a solo home run of his own to tie the game at 2-2. The score remained the same as the second baseman came to the plate in the fifth. Lopez punched a Gavin Collyer offering into left to score Jonathan Embry and hand the RiverDogs a 3-2 advantage.
The final run scored in seventh inning courtesy of former Rangers farmhand Osleivis Basabe. With two outs, Ovalles sparked the rally with a shallow single into left. Berglund worked a walk, forcing Down East to go to the bullpen. Mason Cole entered and Basabe greeted him with a line drive to right that barely evaded the glove of diving right fielder Aaron Zavala. Ovalles scored on the play to push the margin to 4-2.
The RiverDogs doubled the Wood Ducks in the hit column 10-5. Ovalles led all players with three hits, while Basabe and Lopez each added two. Ovalles was never retired in the contest, going 3-3 with two walks.
Following Brecht out of the bullpen, Ian Leatherman and Andrew Gross each tossed 1.2 scoreless innings. The duo combined to allow just one hit as Gross retired the final five hitters of the game on his way to the save.
The teams will meet again in game two of the series on Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. RHP Seth Johnson (6-6, 2.88) will get the baseball for the RiverDogs. Down East will attempt to even the series with RHP John Matthews (5-4, 6.78) on the hill.