Simpson’s 10th inning single sends RiverDogs to first walk-off win
Charleston, SC- Chandler Simpson lined a walk-off single into center field with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the Charleston RiverDogs a 6-5 win over the Lynchburg Hillcats on Sunday evening at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park. The victory allowed the RiverDogs to gain a split of the six-game series in front of 3,810 fans. The team concluded a 13-game homestand with a 5-8 record.
Reliever Duncan Davitt put up a zero in the top half of the extra frame by stranding the placed runner, Angel Zarate, at third base. That allowed the RiverDogs (10-17) to start the bottom half with the winning run already in scoring position. Reliever Samuel Vasquez struggled with his command, walking the first two batters to load the bases for Simpson. The center fielder took a pitch out of the zone, before lining a fastball right back over the mound for the decisive hit on the 1-0 offering.
The contest featured plenty of ebbs and flows before extras arrived. Each squad scored two runs in the second inning against the opposing starter. The RiverDogs took their first lead in the bottom of the third. Simpson reached on a fielder’s choice with one out, stole second base and raced home on Dominic Keegan’s line drive to center.
The 3-2 lead held until the fifth inning when Lynchburg (13-14) took the lead against the Charleston bullpen. Against Jack Hartman, the Hillcats opened the frame with a single and a groundball that was misplayed by Kamren James. Nathan Furman grounded into a fielder’s choice to put runners on the corners and quickly stole second base. Jose Devers followed with a two-run double that put Lynchburg in front 4-3. Maik Collado added a sacrifice fly before the inning closed.
The RiverDogs took one run back on Jhon Diaz’s RBI single in the sixth, but left the bases loaded. The home team put two on with no outs in the seventh before leaving the bases loaded for a second time. In the eighth, Cooper Kinney tied the game with an RBI single as the go-ahead run was left in scoring position once again. Neither team was able to threaten in the ninth, forcing the RiverDogs to play an extra inning for the first time this season.
Both teams ended the game with eight hits. James was the only member of the RiverDogs lineup to collect multiple hits, finishing 2-5. Devers, Collado and Guy Lipscomb each put together a two-hit night.
On the mound, Davitt earned the win with 3.0 scoreless innings down the stretch. Starter Marcus Johnson surrendered two runs on four hits in 4.0 innings. Hartman allowed three runs, two earned, in the fifth inning. He gave up four hits. Finally, Junior William worked 2.0 scoreless innings despite walking four.
On the third MUSC Health Family Sunday of the 2023 season, the ballpark was again filled with activities and games for children. Near the front gate, youngsters were able to create artwork for Mother’s Day. During the game, two children competed to see who could draw the best baseball and bat using their mouths.
The RiverDogs will take Monday off and then hit the road to meet the Augusta GreenJackets on Tuesday morning at 11:05 a.m. RHP Jonny Cuevas (0-2, 6.50) will be on the mound for the first game of the series.
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