RiverDogs surrender final eight runs in Sunday loss to Down East
Charleston, SC - Miguel Villaroel hit a grand slam as part of a late-game explosion from the Down East Wood Ducks offense, allowing the Texas Rangers affiliate to beat the Charleston RiverDogs 11-4 on Sunday at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park. The Wood Ducks scored the final eight runs of the game against the RiverDogs bullpen to bookend the series with victories. The RiverDogs magic number to clinch a third consecutive playoff berth remains at 12. A crowd of 4,331 took in the series finale.
The contest was tied 4-4 when the top of the seventh began. Matt Wyatt began the inning with a walk of Tommy Specht and Devin Hurdle followed with a single. A deep fly ball off the bat of Zion Bannister allowed both runners to tag and advance. Another free pass to Quincy Scott loaded the bases. The reliever rebounded to strike out Konner Piotto and give himself a chance to escape damage. However, Villaroel had different plans, blasting a first pitch grand slam over the left field wall to make it 8-4 Down East (24-24, 61-48).
The Wood Ducks added three more runs in the top of the ninth against Gerlin Rosario. Piotto singled with one out to begin the attack and advanced to second when Carlos Colmenarez couldn’t make a play on Villaroel’s ground ball to short. Anthony Calarco loaded the bases with a single. Like Wyatt two innings prior, Rosario struck out JoJo Blackmon for the second out. This time, Danyer Ceuva drove a two-run double down the right field line and Specht added a single to widen the gap to 11-4.
The RiverDogs (31-17, 58-56) started quickly, reaching the scoreboard in the bottom of the first inning. Cooper Kinney extended his hitting streak to a season-best 15 games with an opposite-field double and moved to third on a wild pitch. With the infield drawn in, Xavier Isaac rolled a base hit up the middle to open the scoring.
Down East (24-24, 61-48) started a bit slower, but managed to take the lead in the third inning. Specht opened that frame with a double and raced home on Hurdle’s base hit up the middle. Scott handed the Wood Ducks the lead with a sacrifice fly.
The RiverDogs turned an error by Hurdle at second into three runs in the fourth. John Diaz followed the error with an RBI single that tied the game 2-2. Two batters later, Brayden Taylor moved the home team back in front with a two-run home run, his second of the season.
Down East’s late-game dominance began in the sixth when Alex Ayal Jr. walked the leadoff man before departing the game. Neraldo Catlina entered and immediately allowed an RBI single to Villaroel that pulled the Wood Ducks within one. Blackmon’s fielder’s choice groundout plated one more run to even the score.
Kinney was the only Charleston player with multiple hits, finishing 3-4 with a double. He now owns a 15-game hitting streak, the longest of the season for a member of the RiverDogs. Down East totaled 11 hits, two each coming from Villaroel, Calarco, Specht and Hurdle.
The loss fell to Wyatt after he allowed four runs in his lone inning on the hill. Starter Marcus Johnson tossed 4.0 solid innings, surrendering two runs on two hits. Cade Halemanu was the only reliever to keep Down East off the board in his first action in over two weeks.
The RiverDogs hosted a birthday bash for their mascot, Charlie T. RiverDog on Sunday evening. Kids were invited to attend his party in the Ashley View Pub prior to the game. Several mascots from around the state of South Carolina attended the bash, including his friends from Augusta and Myrtle Beach. The mascots roamed the ballpark throughout the game, engaging with fans of all ages.
Following the customary Monday off day, the RiverDogs head to North Augusta to meet the Augusta GreenJackets on Tuesday night. LHP Ian Seymour (1-0, 2.57) will take the ball first in that match-up for the RiverDogs. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
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.
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