Alcantara’s eighth inning slam spoils RiverDogs regular season home finale
CHARLESTON, S.C. - Kevin Alcantara hit a go-ahead grand slam in the top of the eighth inning to help the Myrtle Beach Pelicans spoil the final regular season home game for the Charleston RiverDogs on Sunday evening at Joseph P. Riley, Jr Park. The RiverDogs also left 15 men on base in the 9-6 loss that played out in front of 5,555. The defeat means that the RiverDogs need to win at least two of their six games in Columbia next week to clinch a spot in the postseason.
The RiverDogs (37-23, 83-43) entered the eighth inning with a 6-3 lead. Junior William took the mound to begin his third inning of work. The frame began with a bouncer to first, but William dropped the ball on the toss near the bag for an error. The next two batters singled to load the bases. Manager Blake Butera called on Roel Garcia who forced in a run by hitting the first batter he faced, Reginald Preciado, with a pitch. He rebounded to strike out Parker Chavers for the first out. However, Alcantara worked the count full before unloading on a fastball that put the Pelicans (28-32, 75-52) in front 8-6.
Myrtle Beach added an insurance run on an RBI double from Felix Stevens in the top of the ninth. The RiverDogs loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the final inning, but Junior Caminero and Willy Vasquez both struck out to end the contest.
The Pelicans grabbed two runs in the first inning off of Sandy Gaston, who was recently activated from the injured list. The RiverDogs bounced back in the bottom of the inning when Vasquez cut the deficit in half with an RBI single. Each side put a run on the board in the second inning leaving the score at 3-2 in the visitor’s favor until the middle innings.
Charleston tied the game in the fifth inning when Ryan Spikes punched an RBI single through the left side with runners on second and third. That inning ended without fiurther damage as two were stranded. They finally grabbed the lead in the sixth with helpf from a couple of walks by Angel Gonzalez. Bobby Seymour gave the RiverDogs the lead when he worked a bases loaded walk. Brock Jones followed with a sacrifice fly to push the advantage to 6-4. Caminero tacked on an RBI single in the seventh to give the home team what appeared to be a comfortable lead at the time.
Garcia took the loss after allowing three runs, two earned, in 2.0 innings. William was also charged with three runs, two of them earned in a pair of innings on the hill. Jonny Cuevas was solid earlier in the night, working 4.1 innings with just an unearned run surrendered as the first man out of the pen. Gaston walked three and allowed two hits in the two-run first for Myrtle Beach.
Four different RiverDogs collected multiple hits, including Caminero who extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a triple and an RBI single. Shane Sasaki, Caminero and Spikes each finished with two hits. Myrtle Beach had three different players finish with three hits, including Alcantara, who drove in four on the one swing.
In an on-field ceremony after the game, Carson Williams was named the RiverDogs “Top Dog” for the 2022 season. The award is voted on by fans and Williams was selected over other finalists Mason Auer, Austin Vernon, Oneill Manzueta and Bobby Seymour. Past winners included Taj Bradley, Josh Hamilton, Jorge Mateo, B.J. Upton and Canaan Smith. Williams addressed the crowd and thanked them for thier support throughout the campaign.
The RiverDogs hit the road to Columbia for the final series of the regular season which begins on tuesday at 7:05 p.m. The RiverDogs need two wins to clinch a playoff berth. They have won at least two games in every series this season.
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