RiverDogs sweep Wood Ducks to claim third-consecutive championship

Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 12:12 AM EDT
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Charleston, SC - The Charleston RiverDogs scored seven runs in the first inning and made them hold up for the remainder of the contest, defeating the Down East Wood Ducks by a 7-5 score on Tuesday night at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park. The victory allowed the RiverDogs to claim their third-consecutive league championship, the first time a team has achieved that feat in the Carolina League’s history. The final out, a strikeout of JoJo Blackmon by Cade Halemanu, sparked a wild celebration on the field as a crowd of 5,314 roared.

In the fruitful first inning, the RiverDogs scored seven runs, all of the unearned variety, on five hits and sent 10 batters to the plate. The inning began with Brock Porter walking Brayden Taylor. An error by first baseman Miguel Villaroel allowed runners to reach the corners with no outs. Cooper Kinney handed the RiverDogs a quick lead by banging an RBI double over the right fielder’s head. Porter rebounded to strike out the next two hitters before giving up back-to-back singles to Odalys Peguero and Jhon Diaz, allowing the lead to expand to 4-0. At that point the Wood Ducks went to the bullpen.

Left-hander Thomas Ireland, activated from the development list moments before the game, entered to face Cristopher Barete and immediately allowed an RBI triple to the left field corner. Catcher Raudelis Martinez put an exclamation mark on the explosive frame by blasting a two-run home run over the right field wall, his second of the postseason.

From that point forward, five Down East relievers combined to limit the RiverDogs to just two more hits. That effort allowed the visitors to slowly fight their way back into the game. RiverDogs starter Trevor Martin allowed just one hit over 3.0 scoreless innings to begin his outing. In the fourth, Blackmon led off with a double and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Villaroel. Konner Piotto’s soft groundball up the middle brought him home for the Wood Ducks first tally.

Down East chased Martin from the game in the sixth inning with three hits and a sacrifice fly as the margin closed to 7-3. Jake Christianson closed that frame and remained on the mound for the seventh. He struck out the first two hitters of the frame, but Marcos Torres extended the inning with a base hit. Quincy Scott followed with an RBI double, and Blackmon drove him in with a single to make it 7-5.

Cade Halemanu was handed that same lead in the eighth and worked the final 2.0 innings to earn the save. He struck out Devin Hurdle to close the eighth inning with a man on base. In the final frame, Danyer Cuevas opened the inning with a double to the left field corner, bringing the tying run to the plate in each of the next three at-bats. Torres popped out in foul territory for the first out and then whiffed Scott and Blackmon to end the game.

Martin earned the win by tossing 5.2 innings, scattering five hits as he allowed three runs. He struck out five. Christianson allowed a pair of runs in 1.1 innings as the first man out of the bullpen.

Barete was the only RiverDogs player to register multiple hits, ending the night 2-3 with a triple and an RBI. Down East outhit the RiverDogs 10-7 in the game with Scott, Blackmon and Cueva posting two hits each.

Ballpark Fun

The RiverDogs became the first MiLB team since the Midland Rockhounds of the Double-A Texas League to win three-consecutive championships. Midland accomplished the feat in four straight seasons from 2014-17. In addition, they are the first team to finish the first half in last place and rebound to win a league title since 2008.

The RiverDogs 2024 schedule is available online at riverdogs.com Game times will be announced in the near future. The Segra Club at Riley Park is open for events year-round. Visit segraclub.com for more information. The RiverDogs Food Truck is available for your next event! Contact the RiverDogs front office at 843-577-3647 (DOGS) for more information.