Brian Keller, Two Relievers Combine to Give RiverDogs 3-0 Shutout Win
After falling for the sixth straight time to the Columbia Fireflies Friday night, the Charleston RiverDogs needed a little pitching help to give them a chance to stop the streak. Brian Keller gave his team just that, allowing 2-hits in 6-innings of work, and two relievers came on to help close out the shutout as Charleston own 3-0. The RiverDogs managed just 4-hits, but used a two-run fifth to take the lead, before Garrett Mundell closed out the game for his sixth save of the season.
This was a great pitchers’ duel as Keller and Columbia starter Thomas Szapucki kept the game scoreless through the first four innings. The Fireflies looked like they would have a chance of taking the lead when back-to-back singles started of the fourth, and they were able to load the bases on a two out walk to Milton Ramos before Keller got Dan Rizzie to fly out to end the inning.
In the bottom of the fifth, Charleston finally got a run across the plate to take the lead. Donny Sands was hit by a pitch to start the inning and moved to second following a ground out by Isiah Gilliam. Next up was Alexander Palma, who lined a double down the left-field line that scored Sands to give the RiverDogs the lead. A wild pitch moved him to third before Mandy Alvarez hit a sacrifice fly that scored Palma to make it 2-0.
In the eighth, the Charleston RiverDogs extended their lead to three. Palma walked to start the inning and moved to second on a ground out. Diego Castillo following by grounding a single up the middle and Palma beat the throw to the plate to score. That made it 3-0.
That proved to be plenty enough offense for Brian Keller (5-5) on this evening. The right-hander went 6-innings, allowing 2-hits and 4-walks. He struck out 8 in the game, the sixth time this season he has reached at least that many strikeouts in a game.
In the seventh, David Sosebee took over and pitched two scoreless innings. Garrett Mundell came on in the ninth and found himself in a bit of trouble. After Brandon Brosher reached on a catcher interference call, Ramos singled two batters later to put first and second with one out. A groundout moved both runners into scoring position before Gene Cone was walked to load the bases. Mundell was struggling a bit but he remained calm, fanning Andres Gimenez to end the game.
Alexander Palma was the offensive spark for Charleston on the night, going 1-2 with 2-runs, a double, and an RBI. Sands had a hit and scored a run.
The rubber match of this three-game series is tomorrow. Gabriel Llanes (4-3, 2.93) will take the hill for the Columbia Fireflies. He will be opposed by Freicer Perez (2-3, 3.51). First pitch is scheduled for 1:05.
By Robert Pannier