CHARLESTON, SC - The Charleston RiverDogs scored all seven of their runs in the third inning and held a lead over Hickory until the ninth when the Crawdads pushed across the tying and go-ahead runs in an 8-7 victory, handing the Dogs their sixth consecutive defeat on a Holy City Sunday that welcomed 4,170 to Joe Riley Park.
Charleston (45-45, 12-10) sent 12 batters to the plate in the third, getting two-run hits from second baseman Wilkerman Garcia and designated hitter Frederick Cuevas. Shortstop Oswaldo Cabrera and center fielder Matt McPhearson also provided RBI in the frame, as the Dogs overcame a 4-0 deficit to take a 7-4 advantage. The three-run lead marked the first lead for the RiverDogs during their season-long six-game losing streak. The first nine hitters of the inning all reached base before righty Joe Barlow retired three in a row in relief.
McPhearson lengthened his hitting streak to a season-best eight games, going 1-for-3 with a pair of walks, including a bases-loaded free pass. The former Arizona Diamondbacks farmhand has hit safely in 14 of 15 games that he's gotten a plate appearance in during the second-half. The Baltimore-area native also stole his 10th base of the season in the defeat.
RiverDogs hitters chased Clemson product and Moore, S.C. native Alex Eubanks with nobody out in the third. The right-hander's two innings marked the second shortest start against the Dogs this season, with the shortest being due to injury. Three Hickory relievers combined for seven no-hit innings the rest of the way to keep the Crawdads in the game.
Right-hander Alex Mauricio made his RiverDogs pitching debut, going 4 2/3 innings and allowing six runs on nine hits. The 21-year-old, recently promoted from short-season Staten Island, struck out six Crawdads (43-48, 13-10) while walking three. With a first inning run allowed by Mauricio, the Dogs have given up a first inning tally in four of the five games during the homestand.
Following Mauricio's outing, righty Daniel Ramos dealt 2 1/3 innings of scoreless baseball. He was replaced by hard-throwing southpaw Anderson Severino (2-2), who surrendered Hickory's winning runs in the final inning. Hickory outhit the RiverDogs, 14-6, including eight for extra bases.
The RiverDogs had not relinquished a ninth-inning lead at home this season, starting 17-0. Charleston is now 34-2 overall when leading after eight innings. The Holy City is now stuck in a season-worst six-game skid as well as a five-game drought at Riley Park. The RiverDogs began Sunday in second place for the first time in the second-half, trailing Greenville by game.
It was a (pre)historic day at The Joe as the RiverDogs welcomed the creatures who roamed the Earth before humans. There were dinosaurs scattered throughout the ballpark, a fossil dig site on the concourse, and a live dinosaur egg-hatching between innings. It was also an MUSC Health Family Sunday in the Holy City, where kids got free admission, ate free, and ran the bases postgame.