RiverDogs Beat Pelicans 9-7, Secure Trip to Postseason

The RiverDogs clinched a spot in the postseason with a win over Myrtle Beach on Friday
The RiverDogs clinched a spot in the postseason with a win over Myrtle Beach on Friday(Charleston RiverDogs)
Published: Sep. 2, 2023 at 11:21 AM EDT
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Charleston, SC - The Charleston RiverDogs punched their ticket to a third straight postseason by hanging on for a 9-7 win over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans on Friday night at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park. The Pelicans scored five runs in the top of the seventh inning to make matters interesting, but Jackson Lancaster and Gerlin Rosario slammed the door in the final two frames as 5,453 watched. The victory sets up a first-round playoff match-up between the same teams beginning on September 12 at The Joe.

For a third straight game, the RiverDogs (37-20, 64-59) scored in the bottom of the first inning. Cristopher Barete opened the attack with an infield single up the middle. Ryan Cermak joined him on base with a free pass two batters later. After Luis Rujano struck out Cooper Kinney for the second out, the right-hander also walked Colton Ledbetter to load the bases and Carlos Colmenarez to force in the first run.

Myrtle Beach (31-26, 70-52) bounced back quickly to tie the score in the top of the second. Jonathan Long began that inning with a double and scored quickly as Pedro Ramirez followed with an RBI single off Trevor Martin.

The game changed when Charleston exploded for seven runs in the bottom of the second inning. Raudelis Martinez began the rally with a base hit and was joined on base when Barete also singled. Brayden Taylor put a charge into a fastball and hammered it over the right field wall for a three-run home run that put the RiverDogs in front. A single from Kinney, double by Ledbetter and walk from Colmenarez loaded the bases again. Rujano committed a balk to force in another run and make it 5-1. Before the frame ended, Odalys Peguero blasted a second three-run home run to cap the scoring. It was the infielder’s first home run since June of 2022.

The teams traded runs in the middle innings, allowing the RiverDogs to carry a seven-run lead into the seventh. Neraldo Catalina took over on the mound and allowed all six batters he faced to reach base safely. He allowed three hits, walked a batter, hit a batter and had a man reach on an error. Alex Ayala Jr. took over with the bases loaded and three runs already in and immediately walked Long to force in another run. Cermak made a diving catch on Pedro Ramirez’s line drive to right for the first out of the inning as a runner tagged from third and scored. Ayala then walked a runner to reload the bases before striking out Leonel Espinoza and retiring Andy Garriola on a fly ball to left to end the threat with the Dogs still on top 9-7.

The Pelicans used a leadoff walk in each of the final two innings to give themselves several at-bats with the tying run at the plate. However, Lancaster and Rosario did not allow a hit as they combined to close the game.

Martin, the starter, did not factor in the decision after allowing two runs on three hits in 3.0 innings. The win went to Cade Halemanu who worked 3.0 scoreless innings with a pair of strikeouts.

Leading the RiverDogs 13-hit effort was Barete, who finished 3-5 with two runs scored. Taylor, Ledbetter, Peguero and Martinez each tallied two hits. Peguero collected a season-high four runs batted in. Myrtle Beach received single hits from seven different members of their batting order.

Ballpark Fun

When Rosario struck out Espinoza to end the game, the RiverDogs charged out of the first base dugout and stormed the mound to celebrate another trip to the postseason. The team received playoff t-shirts and posed for a picture on the field before retreating to the clubhouse where the party began.

The teams were originally scheduled to play a doubleheader on Saturday but, with the results no longer impactful to the playoff race, have agreed to play one game beginning at 6:05 p.m. RHP Gary Gill Hill (0-0, 9.00) will open the game on the mound for the RiverDogs. Myrtle Beach will counter with LHP Drew Gray (0-3, 4.98). The RiverDogs and Boeing will be hosting the final Military Appreciation Night of the season for the Saturday contest.