Garcia drives in two with stellar offensive game
By: Riverdogs Media
Right-hander Alexander Vizcaino put his team on his back Sunday night, turning in seven dominant innings as the RiverDogs cruised to a 3-0 win over the Columbia Fireflies with 3,620 in attendance at Joe Riley Park.
Vizcaino (2-1, 2.95) set the tone for the evening in a quick top of the first inning, needing 13 pitches to strike out two Fireflies (8-15) on the way to retiring the side in order.
He traded three scoreless innings with Columbia starter Alec Kisena (0-1, 2.45), making his first MiLB appearance since 2015 after spending the last two seasons with the Gateway Grizzlies of the Frontier League.
The Charleston (11-13) offense found its rhythm in the bottom of the fourth inning, when Kyle Gray hit a one out, ground-rule double into Shoeless Joe’s Hill in right field, his third double of the season. Wilkerman Garcia then drove him in with a single, his second RBI of the series. Nelson Gomez later walked with two outs in the frame but was stranded.
That’s all the RiverDogs needed, as Vizcaino was dominant in his best start of the season, throwing seven shutout frames and allowing just two hits and walk to go with five strikeouts. It was the longest effort by a Charleston starter this season, surpassing Jio Orozco’s two six-frame outings this year.
The Dogs weren’t done scoring though, striking for two more in the bottom of the fifth. The first three hitters of the inning reached, Canaan Smith on a walk, Eduardo Navas on a bunt single for his first hit since April 9, and Eduardo Torrealba was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no one out. Brandon Lockridge was tasked with driving them in, and hit a ball hard but right into the glove of Mark Vientos, who was able to step on the third base bag to double off Smith.
Kyle Gray picked up his teammate and came up clutch with two away, hitting a line drive single to center field, sending Navas home. Garcia was next, and continued his great day at the plate with another RBI single to drive home Torrealba for his second RBI of the evening and put the RiverDogs on top 3-0.
Fans were treated to some unexpected fireworks in the bottom of the eighth inning, when Fireflies reliever Jose Butto’s offering to Nelson Gomez came a little too far inside. Chaos ensued and the benches emptied, ending with the ejections of Butto and Gomez.
When order was restored, Jhony Brito, who relieved Vizcaino in the eighth, was able to continue his eventual two innings, allowing just one hit and striking out four in just his second appearance of the season.
Vizcaino and Brito combined to provide the RiverDogs with their first shutout win of the season, as well as the fewest hits allowed to an opponent this year.
Despite the lengthy delay in the bottom of the eighth, the contest ended in a brisk 2:39.
The RiverDogs concluded their seven-game homestand with an MUSC Health Family Sunday, and there was something for everyone at the ballpark Sunday evening. The kids in attendance ate for free, and many of them ran the bases after the game. Those who drove to the game enjoyed free parking to top it off.
The Dogs look ahead to their third road trip of the season on Tuesday following a Monday day off, when they’ll face the Kannapolis Intimidators for the second series between the two clubs this year, sending Roansy Contreras (2-1, 3.32) to the hill in the opener. The Intimidators swept the RiverDogs last week in Charleston, holding the them to just four total runs in the three game series. Now, the Dogs will look to return the favor during the three-game set at Intimidators Stadium.
Catch the game on WTMA 1250 AM in the tri-county area, online streaming on the TuneIn Radio app. 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.