CHARLESTON, SC - Once leading 2-0, the Charleston RiverDogs coughed up two leads and left the tying run aboard in the ninth as the Hagerstown Suns evened the four-game series at one win apiece, 4-3, in front of 5,280 at Riley Park on Saturday night.
Charleston (54-61, 21-26) got out to a 2-0 lead with a run in each the third and fourth innings. Back-to-back triples from left fielder Mitchell Hansen and second baseman David Metzgar off Hagerstown (44-69, 17-28) starter Brigham Hill put the Dogs in front. An inning later, an RBI three-bagger from first baseman Chris Hess scored third baseman Welfrin Mateo to extend the lead.
Mateo finished the night 3-for-4, bouncing back after a 0-for-4 effort on Friday. Metzgar's triple extended his hitting streak to 10 games going back to May 5 in his first stint with the RiverDogs.
18-year-old starter Roansy Contreras threw five scoreless innings before he surrendered Hagerstown's tying runs in the sixth on a Gage Canning groundout and a two-out single from first baseman Jake Scudder, chasing Contreras from the tie ballgame.
The RiverDogs regained the lead in the seventh on a Dermis Garcia single to plate Oswaldo Cabrera. Garcia drove in three runs on two hits in the series opener but struck out in his other four plate appearances on Saturday.
Right-hander Austin DeCarr relieved Contreras, dealing two innings but giving up the Suns' equalizer in the eighth, a double from Cole Freeman.
The Suns took their first lead of the game in the ninth, when catcher Alex Dunlap collided with Eduardo Navas at the plate, dislodging the baseball and scoring on Kameron Esthay's go-ahead single. After Hagerstown took the ninth inning lead off Daniel Alvarez (0-2), Charleston was staved off by Frankie Bartow in the final half inning. Shortstop Oswaldo Cabrera ripped a single to right field, but the potential tying run in Carlos Vidal was cut down at the plate by the right fielder Canning. Cabrera was stranded in scoring position on Garcia's fourth strikeout to end the game.
The defeat marked Charleston's 49th one-run game of the season, the most in the league and contests which they have fallen to 20-29 in.