Bad Bounce Results in Demoralizing Defeat for RiverDogs against Pelicans

Published: Apr. 28, 2023 at 12:26 AM EDT
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Charleston, SC- Leading by two with two outs in the ninth inning, a groundball up the middle was inches away from Charleston RiverDogs second baseman Odalys Peguero’s glove when it struck the second base bag. Reivaj Garcia tied the game moments after the deflection, and a wild pitch allowed the winning run to score as the Myrtle Beach Pelicans edged the RiverDogs 10-9 on Thursday night at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park. A crowd of 3,601 battled consistent rain to watch an eventful contest that featured several twists and turns.

The RiverDogs (6-12) entered the final frame holding a 9-7 lead. Matt Wyatt, who initially took the mound for the final two outs of the sixth, retired the first batter in the ninth, Jefferson Encarnacion. He walked the next hitter and reached his pitch limit at the same time, resulting in lefty Drew Sommers entering from the bullpen. Having arrived in Charleston shortly before the game began, Sommers allowed a single to Reginald Preciado before striking out Pedro Ramirez to put the RiverDogs on the precipice of a comeback win. However, Christian Morel’s bouncer deflected off second base, Garcia followed with a two-run single to right and Morel scored when a ball squirted past catcher Angel Galarraga. That series of events put the Pelicans on top 10-9.

Ryan Spikes opened the bottom of the inning with a ground-rule double to dead center, moving the tying run into scoring position. Peguero’s roller to shortstop moved Spikes to third and gave Charleston two chances to tie the game. Myrtle Beach reliever Jack Aldrich had other ideas, striking out pinch-hitter Xavier Isaac and Galarraga to close the game.

The RiverDogs overcame deficits of 5-1 and 7-4 earlier in the night in order to possess the late advantage. The Pelicans (10-7) erased a 1-0 deficit of their own with five runs in the third inning against RiverDogs starting pitcher Jonny Cuevas. The home team slowly closed within 5-4 after four innings, only to watch the lead swell to three with a two-RBI single from Felix Stevens in the top of the sixth.

That deficit was erased in the seventh when Kamren James blooped a two-run single into shallow right and Peguero worked a bases loaded walk moments later. All three runs scored with two outs and evened the score 7-7. The inning featured three walks from reliever Marino Santy.

In the eighth, the RiverDogs took their first lead since the opening inning as Jhon Diaz scored from third base on a wild pitch by Aldrich. Cooper Kinney reached on an error with two outs and scored an insurance run on Dominic Keegan’s RBI single to make it 9-7.

Keegan reached base in all five trips to the plate, finishing 3-3 with a triple, three RBI, two walks and two runs scored. Kinney added two hits as the RiverDogs finished with 10 as a team. Myrtle Beach tallied 12 hits with Stevens, Morel and Garcia recording multiple knocks.

Four Charleston pitchers combined to walk eight batters on the night. Sommers took the loss after being charged with two runs on three hits. Cuevas surrendered five runs, four earned, on eight hits over 4.0 innings to open the game. Junior William was first out of the bullpen, walking four in 1.1 innings and giving up two runs. Wyatt was outstanding, turning in 3.0 no-hit innings with four strikeouts and a pair of walks. He was charged with one run.

Ballpark Fun

Prior to the game, emotional first pitches were tossed by RiverDogs bat boy Stevie Wintz and longtime season ticket holder Dean Brandt. In 2022, both individuals were diagnosed with cancer and made a pact that they would throw out the first pitch at The Joe together when they felt better. Medical staff that was crucial to their care were also in attendance to cheer them on.

RHP Yoniel Curet (0-0, 4.70) will start the fifth game of the series for the RiverDogs on Friday night. The Pelicans will counter with RHP Nick Hull (1-0, 6.00). First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m. After the game, fans are encouraged to stay in their seats for a post-game fireworks show presented by REV Federal Credit Union.