Canaan Smith drives in four, Contreras earns sixth win give Charleston series lead
By: Riverdogs Media
Crooked numbers were the catalyst for Charleston’s game two victory, and once again the RiverDogs utilized a four-run frame to down the Asheville Tourists 7-4 Saturday night in front of 4,712 at Joe Riley Park.
Charleston (42-38, 5-5) scored six of their seven runs in the third and fourth innings off Nick Bush (3-7, 5.81), with four coming in the third to mirror the four-run fourth inning Friday night. Anthony Seigler, who entered the evening with an on-base percentage of .448, was again at the center of a RiverDogs rally. He stepped to the plate with the bases juiced and nobody out after Welfrin Mateo and Josh Stowers drew free passes around a single by Sandy Mota.
The Dogs DH hit a grounder to third base that was almost turned into a twin-killing by the Tourists (32-48, 3-7), but LJ Hatch’s throw sailed wide of first base. Seigler advanced to second on the play, and Mateo scored to tie the game at one run apiece. Left fielder Canaan Smith followed, who broke out of a 2-for-22 slump in a huge way with a two-run single to drive Stowers and Mota home to give Charleston a 3-1 lead. Mickey Gasper, making his 15th start behind the plate to provide Seigler respite from the field, followed with the second run-scoring groundout of the inning to extend Charleston’s lead to 4-1.
For Dogs righty Roansy Contreras (6-4, 4.81), the four runs were all he needed in his solid five innings of work. He allowed Asheville to crack the scoreboard first for the second night in a row, this time via a solo home run by leadoff hitter Daniel Montano in the top of the third, but settled down nicely following the shot. He recorded four flyouts, five groundouts, six strikeouts and a great deal of weak contact throughout his night en route to five innings of one-run ball with just three hits allowed. His sixth win of the season extends his team-lead in that category.
Charleston added to their lead with a pair of runs in the fourth, again off the bat of Canaan Smith. His 18th double of the season plated Stowers and Seigler, both scoring their second runs of the night.
The seventh RiverDogs run came in the bottom of the eighth, when Welfrin Mateo scored on a wild pitch by Asheville reliever PJ Poulin.
For the second consecutive night, the RiverDogs also saw solid work in relief of their starter. Ron Marinaccio allowed a pair of runs in his two innings of work, and Carlos Espinal sealed the win with two innings of one-run ball.
Charleston moves to 5-5 in the second half with the victory, going for the series win Sunday night. The RiverDogs have also scored 19 runs in their last two contests, helping out an offense that had been ice-cold after the All-Star Break.
Thursday night’s contest kicked off a jam-packed weekend at The Joe, starting with a celebration of Larry Doby, the first African American player to break the color barrier in the American League with the Cleveland Indians. Fans also received a ticket on their way in corresponding to one of over 3,000 bouncy balls, which were dropped out of a helicopter after the game for the third helicopter ball drop of the season. The ball that landed closest to home plate sent one lucky fan home with $2,000. To top it off, fans who showed up early got to meet some of their favorite players and get autographs before first pitch.
After taking a 2-1 lead in the 4-game set Saturday night, Charleston will go for its first series win of the second half in the series finale Sunday evening. One of the RiverDogs’ two All-Star starting pitchers, Alexander Vizcaino, will take the mound looking to get the job done for his club. Vizcaino hasn’t been the same pitcher since the All-Star Break, as he allowed nine runs in just 3 1/3 innings in his only second half start to follow up his appearance in the 2019 SAL All-Star Game, when he surrendered five runs in just 1/3 of an inning. The Tourists will send another southpaw to the mound
For those who can’t make it to Riley Park, catch the game on MyTV Charleston WCIV (Channel 36 over the air), over the airwaves on WTMA 1250 AM in the tri-county area, and on MiLB.tv with a subscription. ABC News 4’s Dean Stephens will join the TV booth for the Sunday series finale. 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.