RiverDogs Clinch Playoff Berth, Match Franchise Record for Single-Season Wins

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. 8, 2022 at 12:47 PM EDT
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Columbia, SC- The Charleston RiverDogs clinched a playoff berth and tied the franchise record for wins in a season with an extra-inning 11-7 victory over the Columbia Fireflies on Wednesday night at Segra Park. The RiverDogs could not close out the game despite carrying leads into the bottom of the ninth and tenth innings. In the top of the 11th, they pulled ahead with three home runs and Roel Garcia closed out the win with a scoreless bottom half to set off a celebration near the mound.

The RiverDogs (39-23, 85-43) were on top 5-2 entering the bottom of the seventh inning. With two outs, Daiveyon Whittle allowed a double to Omar Hernandez and Gavin Cross followed with a triple off the top of the wall in right center to trim one run off the deficit. Whittle stranded Cross at third to close out the inning. He turned in 2.2 innings with just that run allowed.

Jack Snyder entered the game with a two-run lead in the eighth, looking to take the Carolina League lead in saves. With two outs, Dayton Dooney turned on a pitch for a solo home run that made it a one run game. Junior Caminero blasted a solo home run in the top of the ninth to add an insurance run and send the game to the bottom of the inning with a 6-4 score. Snyder retired the first two batters he faced before losing a nine pitch battle to Omar Hernandez. That brought the tying run to the plate in the form of Cross. He worked the count full before tying the game with a blast just inside the right field foul pole.

Each team scored a run in the first extra frame, sending the contest to the 11th. With Carson Williams beginning the frame on second base, Caminero blasted his second home run of the night over the batter’s eye in center field to make it 9-7. Later in the frame the lead grew with back-to-back home runs from Willy Vasquez and Brock Jones. It was the second time in as many nights and the sixth time this season the team hit consecutive home runs in a game.

The game began in impressive fashion for the RiverDogs as they scored three times and chased Columbia (33-28, 51-76) starter Frank Mozzicato from the game in the first inning. Shane Sasaki opened the game with a walk and Williams followed with an RBI single to put two on base. Caminero then bounced into an RBI fielder’s choice to second in which the Fireflies could not get an out because of an error on Dooney at second base. Vasquez doubled the lead with a single before a wild pitch made it 3-0. Bobby Seymour added a run with an RBI single in the second inning. Javier Vaz and Carter Jensen each collected RBI singles to put Columbia on the board in the third inning and set the stage for the wild finish.

Caminero extended his hitting streak to 13 games and finished the night 3-6 with two home runs. Jones also collected three hits including a long ball. Williams, Vasquez, and Dominic Keegan each had a pair of hits on the night. Hernandez led the Fireflies with three hits and was joined by Cross and Quintana with multiple hits.

Garcia earned the win by tossing the final 2.1 innings of the contest and allowing only an unearned run. Snyder was charged with a blown save after surrendering three runs on three hits in 1.2 innings. JJ Goss started the game and went 4.1 innings, allowing two runs on five hits with three walks.

The final series of the regular season continues with a Thursday night contest at 7:05 p.m. RHP Nick Bitsko (0-0, 3.00) makes his final start of the campaign against Columbia’s RHP Ben Kudrna (2-4, 3.39).