Sasaki Returns to Lineup, Walks Off Pelicans in Extras
Charleston, SC- Shane Sasaki made his return to the lineup on Thursday night after missing three games due to a pitch hitting him in the hand on Saturday in Fayetteville. His return featured three hits, the final of which was a walk-off, two-RBI single in the bottom of the tenth that pushed the Charleston RiverDogs to a 7-6 win over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park. A crowd of 3,874 waited out a rain delay that lasted just over an hour to witness the key victory. The win, coupled with a Columbia loss, allowed the RiverDogs to move 3.5 games in front of the Fireflies with nine to play.
The RiverDogs (36-21, 82-41) entered the bottom of the extra frame trailing 6-5. Brock Jones began the inning at second base and was quickly joined by Ryan Spikes after the latter worked a four-pitch walk. Angel Gonzalez struck out Oneill Manzueta for the first out and induced a groundout from Kenny Piper to leave the home team down to their final out with runners at second and third. Sasaki stepped into the batter’s box and lined a single to center field that allowed both runs to score and led to an enthusiastic celebration behind first base.
Myrtle Beach (26-31, 73-50) grabbed the lead in the top of the tenth when Jack Snyder issued a wild pitch with Reginald Preciado on third base and two outs. Snyder would end up the winning pitcher after Sasaki’s heroics.
Each team had surrendered leads earlier in the night. Myrtle Beach got on the board two batters into the game when Kevin Alcantara singled to start the game, stole second and went to third on an errant JJ Goss pick-off throw. Pedro Ramirez followed with an RBI single to make it 1-0. Ironically, the RiverDogs also took their first lead two batters into their initial at-bat of the game. Sasaki singled to begin the frame and Carson Williams blasted a two-run home run off of the batter’s eye. The home run was the 18th of the season for Williams, tying him for the Carolina League lead.
Kenny Piper and Sasaki added RBI singles in the fifth to push the lead to 4-1, however an opportunity for more damage was missed. With two runs already in, the RiverDogs struck out three times against Brody McCullough with the bases loaded to end the inning. That turned out to be crucial as the Pelicans countered with four runs in the top of the next frame against Sean Harney to grab a 5-4 advantage. Harney recorded one out, allowing four runs on three hits and two walks.
Down one in the eighth, the RiverDogs received a leadoff double from Blake Robertson that bounced off of the gloves of two Pelicans defenders in center field. Robertson advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a line drive single to left from Bobby Seymour, who was playing for the first time since August 11. Neither team scored in the ninth, setting up the dramatic finish.
Goss went 5.0 innings and allowed the lone run on seven hits. Roel Garcia was brilliant in escaping a pair of jams, leaving the bases loaded with two strikeouts in relief of Harney in the sixth and then stranding runners at second and third in the seventh. Kamron Fields alos turned in 2.0 scoreless frames down the stretch, lowering his ERA to 2.85.
Sasaki went 3-5 with three runs batted in to lead the RiverDogs. Robertson was the only other member of the lineup with multiple hits, going 2-4 with a double. Junior Caminero extended his hitting streak to nine games with a single in the ninth inning. Ezequiel Pagan was 3-4 with a double and an RBI for the Pelicans.
The final Thirsty Thursday™ presented by Budweiser of the season was packed with fun despite the rains delaying first pitch. DJ Dolla Menu played music on the Ashley View Pub throughout the night as fans enjoyed $1 beers. In addition, early arrivals to the park received a cup shaped like a boot on Amputee Awareness Night. Finally, the RiverDogs were joined by several bus drivers and their families on CARTA (Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority) Night.
Game four of the series is set for 7:05 p.m. on Friday night. RHP Nick Bitsko (0-0, 6.00) will open the game on the mound for the RiverDogs. Myrtle Beach will hand the ball to RHP Nick Hull (0-0, 0.00). The RiverDogs will auction off their red jerseys worn on each Friday night home game this season and fans who stick around will be treated to a post-game fireworks show thanks to REV Federal Credit Union.
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