By: Riverdogs Media
The fireworks started a little early Friday night, as Eric Wagaman and Junior Soto ripped a pair of fourth inning home runs to break open a scoreless tie to lead the RiverDogs past the Columbia Fireflies 8-3 in front of 4,732 at Joe Riley Park.
The RiverDogs (10-12) gave it to the Fireflies (7-14) yet again, winning their fifth game in six tries against their South Carolina neighbors.
Friday night’s contest had the beginnings of a pitchers’ duel, as Luis Gil (1-1, 1.04) and Willy Taveras (2-2, 4.15) traded scoreless frames back and forth through the first three innings.
Wagaman led off the home half of the fourth with his second home run of the season, a high shot that sailed over the left field scoreboard to break the ice and put the RiverDogs on top first. The floodgates were just opening though, as a single by Kyle Gray, an RBI double by Canaan Smith and a two-run bomb by Soto, his first of the season, had the Dogs on top 4-0 after four innings.
They weren’t finished. Charleston sent eight hitters to the plate in the fifth inning, a frame in which the first five RiverDogs hitters reached, and scored two runs on singles by Josh Breaux and Gray to extend the lead to 5-0. They had a chance for more, as the Dogs sent Mickey Gasper, Soto, and Eduardo Torrealba to the plate with the bases loaded and no one out, but the three sluggers were unable to push another run across.
Taveras was chased from the game in that fourth inning, going 4+ innings and allowing six runs on eight hits and one walk, striking out three.
Not to be outdone by the tremendous offensive outburst, Luis Gil turned in another dominant outing, shutting out the Fireflies through five innings without allowing a single hit, walking three and striking out eight. The start was Gil’s second straight shutout effort spanning 10 total innings. Shawn Semple came in to relieve Gil, and promptly lost the no-hit bid in the midst of four shaky innings to complete the game. Semple, entering the contest in the sixth, allowed three runs on five hits in his four frames, the most he’s allowed in any of his five appearances this season. The three tallies raised his season ERA to 1.71.
The eight-run showing set a new season high for the RiverDogs in runs scored, surpassing the previous two times his season when Charleston pushed seven runs across.
Immediately following the final out of the ballgame, fans sung along with their favorite TV show theme songs that accompanied the spectacular Home Telecom fireworks show, all part of a Boeing Red Shirt Friday. Fans who showed up wearing red were able to buy their tickets $1 off the regular price, with the option to donate that dollar back to support the Vantage Point Foundation. Active duty and retired military members and their families were honored during the game as well.
The RiverDogs and Fireflies will clash for the penultimate game of the four game set, already the seventh time the two clubs will have played this season. Right-hander Luis Medina (0-1, 10.08) is tabbed as the Saturday night starter, coming off a stellar five-inning outing on April 20 during which only one Augusta GreenJacket crossed home plate in his five innings of work. He struck out five and walked two on the evening. Righty Dedniel Nunez will be tasked with facing the RiverDogs; he’ll bring an 2-1 record with a 4.41 ERA into the contest. First pitch is at 6:05 p.m.
For those that can’t make it to Riley Park, catch the game on WTMA 1250 AM in the tri-county area, online streaming on the TuneIn Radio app and on MiLB.tv with a subscription. Fans can “Make Fun” with the RiverDogs all season long down at The Joe. Single-game tickets, including options to the Riley Park Club, are available at riverdogs.com/tickets or by contacting the RiverDogs front office at 843-577-3647 (DOGS). A full schedule and list of game times for the 2019 season is available at riverdogs.com.