Charleston falls to .500 for the first time since May 1
By: Riverdogs Media
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The RiverDogs offense couldn’t muster up enough against a strong pair of starts from Fireflies pitching as they were handed their third doubleheader sweep in as many tries, falling by 2-1 and 5-0 final scores on Sunday evening at Segra Park.
Spirits were high heading into the final two games of the series with the RiverDogs (47-47, 10-14) slated to send their pair of All-Star pitchers to the hill, but neither were in their usual form. Right-hander Luis Gil (4-5) still showed flashes of dominance, inducing 12 swings and misses and five strikeouts in a 77-pitch outing; he finished allowing two runs over just 3 1/3 frames. The Dominican fireballer entered play ranking tied-fifth in the league in total strikeouts (101) and tops in K’s per nine innings (12.0).
An early two-run lead built by the Fireflies stood despite a RiverDogs rally in the sixth. Left fielder Canaan Smith singled the other way with two men down but was cut down trying to score from first on Josh Stowers’ subsequent double. The Charleston right fielder scored on the next pitch when Eric Wagaman delivered with the only RBI knock of the day for Charleston, a base hit into left field that made it 2-1 in game one.
Starting game two, Alexander Vizcaino (4-5) struggled to finish off hitters, allowing all five of his runs over six innings on two-out base hits. First baseman Brian Sharp poked an 0-2 changeup into center for an RBI single in the third and an inside fastball was delivered out to right for a homer by second baseman Shervyen Newton in the fourth before the flood gates opened in the fifth. Sharp would again come through, this time with a double down the left field line before former second-round pick Mark Vientos hammered a towering drive off the batter’s eye over 400 feet away in center, his second home run of the series and ninth of the season that expanded the lead to 5-0.
After managing just one run on six hits in the opener, an infield single by shortstop Oswald Peraza was all the Charleston lineup could muster off 20-year-old Daison Acosta in the nightcap. The Dominican Republic arm making just his second start for Columbia fanned nine over six scoreless frames, including a four-strikeout inning to end his night in the sixth, aided by a Carlos Sanchez passed ball that allowed Smith to reach.
The twin bill sweep knocks the RiverDogs back to .500 or lower on the season for the first time since May 1, when the Yankees affiliate got out to a 13-13 start to the season.
The RiverDogs head to the second stop of their six-day, Palmetto State tour, taking on the GreenJackets in the opener of a three-game series on Monday night in North Augusta. Charleston will send right-hander Harold Cortijo (3-1, 1.62) in the opener; the Puerto Rican-born hurler faces the Giants affiliate for the second time this season after turning in six innings of two run ball on July 2 at The Joe. He has gone at least five innings and permitted no more than two runs in six straight starts since joining the RiverDogs staff from Extended Spring Training in early June. Right hander Keaton Winn (3-6, 3.70) will go in opposition for the Giants affiliate. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m.
Catch the game on WTMA 1250 AM in the tri-county area as well as 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.