SALISBURY, MD - A Shorebirds eighth inning rally spoiled a sterling performance by RiverDogs starter Alex Mauricio, who threw six scoreless innings for the second start in a row in Delmarva, as the RiverDogs came up a game short of a three-game sweep with a 4-2 defeat on Friday night at Perdue Stadium.
Mauricio extended his scoreless innings streak against the Shorebirds (60-59, 25-27) to 12 in a row. The Norfolk State product had turned in six shutout in Salisbury only two weeks prior. The 21-year-old continued his turnaround with the Dogs (56-64, 23-29), marking his third straight outing allowing two runs or fewer, lowering his ERA to 5.81 after being roughed up in his first three outings after a call up from Staten Island. Despite the 12 scoreless frames, Mauricio finished with just a pair of no-decisions against the 'Birds lineup this year.
Trailing 2-0 headed to the bottom of the eighth, former Braves farmhand Jean Carlos Encarnacion gave Delmarva their first lead of the night with one swing of the bat, a three-run shot to deep left field. It was the second homer of the season for the 20-year-old since coming over to the Orioles in the Kevin Gausman trade and the 12th overall on the year between Delmarva and Rome. Orioles No. 10 prospect Cadyn Grenier tacked onto the lead with a deep fly off the glove of Carlos Vidal three batters later, ruled an error.
Dalton Higgins (5-5) yielded the go-ahead blast, the Texas native's second straight losing decision with a home run allowed. The Dallas Baptist product had kept the ball in the ballpark over his first 45-plus innings to start the season with Charleston.
The RiverDogs offense got to DL Hall for a pair of early runs. Carlos Vidal and Dermis Garcia each drilled doubles to get the Holy City on the board in the first. Garcia finished the three-game series going 4-for-12 with four RBI. Third baseman Welfrin Mateo connected for a two-out single that plated Charleston's only other run in the second.
Left-hander Nick Vespi (5-5) scattered just a pair of hits over innings six to eight and righty Timothy Naughton stranded the tying run at second for his fifth save as part of a scoreless ninth.
After the six scoreless frames from Mauricio, Charleston starters have produced a 1.78 ERA over the last 14 games, a stretch where the Dogs are just 6-8. With the win in their final meeting against Charleston, the O's affiliate clinched the season series, 7-6.