RiverDogs fall 5-3 in first game of homestand

Published: May. 31, 2023 at 12:16 AM EDT
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Charleston, SC- The Charleston RiverDogs hoped a return to their home ballpark would lead to different results after a difficult week on the road. However, the Augusta GreenJackets overcame an early deficit and added insurance late, on the way to a 5-2 victory at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park. In front of a crowd of 3,222, the RiverDogs dropped their sixth contest in the last seven games.

The RiverDogs (18-28) quickly jumped in front in the first game of the homestand, getting to Jorge Bautista in the bottom of the first. Chandler Simpson opened the frame with a bunt single and was balked to second base. The outfielder stole third base and scored on Dominic Keegan’s sacrifice fly to left, as the RiverDogs grabbed a 1-0 advantage.

That lead held until the fifth inning thanks to Alex Ayala Jr.’s work on the mound. In his second start since returning from the injured list, the southpaw went 4.0 scoreless, hitless, innings with six strikeouts. When the bullpen entered, the GreenJackets (24-22) came alive.

In the fifth, Augusta surged in front against Cade Halemanu. Tyler Collins opened the inning by beating out a groundball to short for an infield single. He stole second base and scored on a base hit by Francisco Floyd that featured an error by right fielder Oneill Manzueta.

Floyd advanced to second on the mistake, which allowed him to score the go-ahead run on Ethan Workinger’s line drive off the glove of Xavier Isaac at first base. Workinger stole second base and scored the final run of the inning on E.J. Exposito’s single.

The home team briefly climbed back within one. Isaac led off the sixth inning with a triple that caromed off the center field wall. He scored two batters later as Cooper Kinney bounced an RBI groundout to the right side.

Augusta still enjoyed a 3-2 lead as the eighth inning began. Matt Wyatt allowed a single to Cory Acton with one out that was followed by a stolen base. Collins brought Acton home with his second hit of the game to increase the lead to 4-2. He also stole second base and raced home on Floyd’s RBI single that pushed the lead to three.

Manzueta hit a solo home run with two outs in the ninth inning to close the scoring. The outfielder was playing his first game of the season in Charleston after blasting nine home runs for the team last year.

Augusta finished the night with 10 hits and was 6-6 in stolen base attempts. Justin Janas, Collins and Floyd each had two hits. The RiverDogs received at least one hit from seven of the nine players in their lineup, closing the night with eight total hits. Carlos Colmenarez was the only player with two.

Halemanu took the loss after surrendering three runs on four hits in his lone inning on the hill. Drew Sommers struck out a pair in 2.0 scoreless innings and has now collected 25 strikeouts in 13.1 innings this season. Wyatt was charged with two runs in 2.0 innings.