Eighth inning pivotal as RiverDogs register fourth straight win

The Down East Wood Ducks left the bases loaded in the top of the eighth inning, while the...
The Down East Wood Ducks left the bases loaded in the top of the eighth inning, while the Charleston RiverDogs scored two runs in the bottom half.(Charleston RiverDogs)
Published: Aug. 19, 2023 at 11:03 PM EDT
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Charleston, SC - The Down East Wood Ducks left the bases loaded in the top of the eighth inning, while the Charleston RiverDogs scored two runs in the bottom half. That swing turned out to be the difference in a 4-2 RiverDogs victory in front of 5,367 fans on Saturday night at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park. The RiverDogs have won four straight games and eight of the last nine.

The Wood Ducks (23-24, 60-48) struck first against Trevor Martin in the second inning. Quincy Scott opened that frame with a double off the glove of right fielder Jhon Diaz near the outfield wall. Martin rebounded to retire the next two hitters with Scott remaining at second. The right-hander narrowly missed with a 3-2 pitch to JoJo Blackmon, putting two on with two outs. Tommy Specht cashed in with a single to left that handed Down East an early advantage.

Without the aid of a hit, the RiverDogs (31-16, 58-55) took the lead in the fourth. Top Texas Rangers pitching prospect Brock Porter struck out five batters in his first 3.0 innings of work. The next frame began with an error on shortstop Danyer Cuevas, who mishandled a Ryan Cermak bouncer to the left side of the infield. Porter walked each of the next two hitters to load the bases and was removed for reliever Eury Rosado. A wild pitch with Jhon Diaz at the plate tied the game and allowed each runner to advance 90 feet. Diaz then lifted a sacrifice fly to center field that gave Charleston a 2-1 lead.

Martin opened the fifth inning with consecutive strikeouts, before ending his night with a walk of Anthony Calarco. Alex Ayala Jr. was set to enter the game but was unable to pitch as he was not listed on the lineup card. Fellow lefty Jackson Lancaster came to the game mound without ample time to prepare and allowed a single to the first batter he faced, Konner Piotto. A free pass to Miguel Villaroel loaded the bases and another base on balls worked by Ian Moller tied the game.

In the decisive eighth inning, Down East loaded the bases with two outs as Jack Hartman replaced Drew Sommers on the mound. Hartman retired Specht on a line drive to right field to keep the score tied. In the home half of the inning, Cermak led off with a double and moved to third on Tre’ Morgan’s infield hit. With Morgan stealing second, Kohl Drake fired a wild pitch that allowed Cermak to score the go-ahead run and Morgan to race all the way to third. Ryan Spikes doubled the lead with a chopper over third baseman Gleider Figeureo’s head.

The RiverDogs bullpen did not allow a run over the final 4.1 innings of the game. Hartman also worked a scoreless ninth inning after finishing the eighth, earning his third win as a result. Sommers surrendered two hits in 1.2 innings. Lancaster walked a pair in 1.1 innings without allowing a run. Martin opened the game with 4.2 innings of work, striking out six with two runs allowed.

Morgan was the only Charleston player to end the game with multiple hits, finishing 2-3 with two runs scored. Cooper Kinney matched Chandler Simpson for the team’s longest hitting streak of the season at 14 games with a single in the third inning. Scott had three hits and Calarco two of the Wood Ducks seven as a team.

Ballpark Fun

On Charlie’s Lottery Night, the first 500 fans into the ballpark received a RiverDogs-themed chocolate bar. A select few candy bars contained a golden ticket and allowed the holder of those tickets to enjoy a special experience at The Joe for Saturday’s game. Several of the lucky attendees were able to participate in games on the field between innings.

The series wraps up on Sunday evening at 5:05 p.m. RHP Marcus Johnson (4-6, 3.75) will make his second start of the series for the RiverDogs. He will be opposed by Down East LHP Brayan Mendoza (1-2, 3.38). On the penultimate MUSC Health Family Sunday of the season, the RiverDogs will host Charlie T. RiverDog’s 30th birthday party. Parking is free and children are welcome to run the bases after the game.

2023 playoff tickets are on sale now, along with season tickets, Dog-E Coin plans, and group tickets, including options to the Segra Club at Riley Park via //riverdogs.com/tickets. The Segra Club is also open for events year-round. Visit segraclub.com for more information. The brand new RiverDogs Food Truck is available for your next event! Contact the RiverDogs front office at 843-577-3647 (DOGS) for more information.