RiverDogs Struggle Down the Stretch in 8-2 Defeat

The RiverDogs dropped to 9-17 on the season with a loss to the Hillcats on Saturday
The RiverDogs dropped to 9-17 on the season with a loss to the Hillcats on Saturday(Charleston RiverDogs)
Published: May. 6, 2023 at 11:38 PM EDT
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Charleston, SC- The final four innings of Saturday’s game at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park were not kind to the Charleston RiverDogs. Down one after five innings, the Lynchburg Hillcats scored three runs in the sixth, and five more in the top of the ninth, to earn an 8-2 victory in front of 4,020 fans. The RiverDogs will need a victory in the series finale to earn a split and avoid their third consecutive series loss.

The early portion of the game featured a pitcher’s duel between the RiverDogs Trevor Martin and Lynchburg’s Alonzo Richardson. Charleston (9-17) did the only damage against the opposite starter with one run in the second. Carlos Colmenarez walked to begin the frame, and Odalys Peguero and Christopher Barete followed with singles to load the bases. Richardson also walked Jhon Diaz to force in the game’s first run.

Lynchburg (13-13) could not get anything going offensively against Martin. The right-hander allowed a single to the first batter of the game, but never surrendered another hit over 5.0 scoreless innings. He struck out a career-high eight batters. Martin has gone 5.0 innings twice, the only RiverDogs pitcher to reach that threshold.

Things went awry when Martin departed. Cade Halemanu entered for the sixth inning and immediately walked nine-hitter Jose Pastrano. Juan Benjamin followed with a bunt single that was compounded by a throwing error on third baseman Ryan Spikes, putting men on the corners. Jose Devers dumped a single into shallow left, loading the bases for the middle of the lineup. The Hillcats grabbed the lead with Wuilfredo Antunez’s two-run single to right and added to it on Maick Collado’s sacrifice fly.

The RiverDogs fought to within 3-2 in the bottom of the sixth. Spikes drew a walk with one out and immediately scored when Colmenarez hooked a double into the right field corner.

It remained a one run game as Matt Wyatt retired the first two batters in the ninth. The reliever hit Zachary Fascia with a pitch as the floodgates began to open for Lynchburg.

Pastrano followed with an RBI double dropped into shallow left to add a big insurance run. A walk and hit batter loaded the bases before a wild pitch brought another run home. Another walk loaded bases for Guy Lipscomb, who promptly cleared them with a three-run double down the first base line to reach the final margin of 8-2.

Benjamin and Antunez each had two hits for the Hillcats. Benjamin reached base four times at the top of the lineup. Chandler Simpson provided two of the five hits for the RiverDogs, including a triple.

Halemanu took the loss, giving up three runs in 2.0 innings. Wyatt was charged with five runs on three hits and a pair of walks in 2.0 innings of his own.

Ballpark Fun

While the coronation of King Charles took place in London in the wee hours of Saturday morning, the RiverDogs named Charlie T. RiverDogs king of The Joe during the game. After the third inning, Charlie was escorted along a red carpet and took his seat on the throne, receiving a crown to a nice ovation from the crowd. The entire night had an overarching British theme, with the singing of God Save the King early in the game and fish and chips served in the concession stand.

The final game of the RiverDogs two-week homestand is slated for Sunday evening at 5:05 p.m. RHP Marcus Johnson (0-1, 4.50) will make his second start of the series for Charleston. Lynchburg will hand the ball to RHP Braunny Munoz (1-1, 7.88).