Slide reaches three games as RiverDogs fall to Fireflies
Columbia, SC - The Charleston RiverDogs offensive struggles continued in a 4-2 defeat at the hands of the Columbia Fireflies on Tuesday night at Segra Park. The RiverDogs have dropped each of their last three games, combining to score just six runs in those losses. The team’s south division lead shrunk to 4.0 games over both Columbia and Kannapolis.
Columbia (19-18, 54-48) opened the night with a quick strike against Alex Ayala Jr. in the first inning. Carson Roccaforte swung at the first pitch he received in a Fireflies uniform and pounded a line drive off the center field wall for a triple. Omar Hernandez immediately lined a sacrifice fly into left to hand the Fireflies the early advantage.
The home team extended the margin with the aid of only one hit in the fourth. Brett Squires roped a double to left field with one out to spark the rally. Ayala struggled to find his command, walking each of the next two batters to load the bases. A fielder’s choice groundball from Trevor Werner doubled the lead and a wild pitch followed to add another run.
The RiverDogs (23-14, 50-53) offense got off to a slow start, registering only two hits in the first five innings. That changed briefly when Julio Meza tripled to deep center field off the glove of Roccaforte. Ryan Spikes worked a walk in the next at-bat, putting men on the corners with no outs. Cooper Kinney bounced into a 4-6-3 double play as Meza scored from third to trim the deficit to 3-1.
However, Columbia answered almost immediately in pushing the lead back to three. Spencer Nivens led off with a double against Jack Hartman. Brett Squires put down a sacrifice bunt to advance Nivens to third base with one out. That result drew the RiverDogs infield in and Austin Charles took advantage by chopping a ball over their heads and into center field for an RBI single.
The final run of the night came via a solo home run from Julio Meza, his third of the season. The RiverDogs put the tying run at the plate in the ninth inning with two outs after a single by Ryan Cermak, but Jhon Diaz grounded out to end the game.
Ayala took the loss by allowing three runs in 4.0 innings of work. Jack Hartman surrendered one run out of the bullpen in 2.0 innings on the mound. The final pitcher to work was Jackson Lancaster, who put up 2.0 scoreless frames. Henry Williams, acquired by Kansas City in a recent trade with San Diego, made his Columbia debut by tossing 5.0 scoreless innings for the Fireflies.
Meza finished the night 2-3 with a triple and a home run as the only RiverDogs player to collect multiple hits. The Fireflies received two hits each from Lizandro Rodriguez and Nivens.
Game two of the series is scheduled for Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m. RHP Marcus Johnson (4-5, 3.79) will start on the mound for the RiverDogs against Columbia RHP Ben Hernandez (0-1, 2.50).
RiverDogs season tickets, flexible ticket plans, and group tickets, including options to the Segra Club at Riley Park, are available at //riverdogs.com/tickets or by contacting the RiverDogs front office at 843-577-3647 (DOGS).
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