Brody Koerner Dominates in 4-0 Charleston RiverDogs Victory
In the Charleston RiverDogs first three wins, it took late inning heroics to earn the victories, as three walk-off ninth innings gave the team a 3-1 record coming out of their first four-game series of the season. While those are the kind of victories that help to build the character of the team, Manager Luis Dorante would much rather have a game where his starting pitcher took care of business from the beginning. That is what he got Monday night as Brody Koerner shut down the Asheville Tourists in leading his team to the 4-0 win.
While it was Koerner who was the one with the big night, it was Asheville starter Trey Killian that looked like he was the one who was going to be throwing up goose eggs all evening. Killian struck out the first four batters he faced, leaving the Charleston hitters trying to figure out if they were facing Clayton Kershaw.
However, that changes when Jhalan Jackson roped a double to the wall in left field with one out in the second. That brought Kyle Holder to the plate, who promptly ripped a base hit into center that sent Jackson scurrying home to make it 1-0 RiverDogs.
That was all the offense that Koerner would need. The right-hander was completely on his game, and giving nothing to the Tourists hitters that they could drive.
The Charleston starter gave up a one out single in the first before retiring the final two hitters. In the second he found himself in a bit of trouble, yielding a leadoff double to Brian Mundell and watching him reach third on a passed ball with no one out. However, he remained incredibly poised, striking out the next two hitters before getting a ground out to end the threat.
In the top of the third, Jonathan Piron beat out a ground ball for a single, and moved to second on sacrifice but, again, Koerner made big pitches when he had to. He got the ground ball out to hold the runner, and then struck out the final batter of the inning to end the threat.
Asheville would only get one more hit off the Charleston starter. That came in the sixth inning when Yonathan Daza singled with one out, but he would be left stranded.
Koerner (1-0) would be pulled after seven innings. He would allow just 4-hits and no runs, while striking out 9. It was an absolutely spectacular appearance that saw 62 of his 75 pitches thrown go for strikes, an absolutely incredible percentage.
What was most impressive is that he spent six innings protecting a very thin 1-0 lead. That would change in the bottom of the sixth, however.
Trey Amburgey would extend the lead by leading off the inning with his first homerun of the year. The ball cleared the wall in left-center field to make it 2-0. Chris Gittens followed with his third double of the season and he moved to third on a wild pitch. Next up was Jackson, who singled to left field to score Gittens. After Jackson stole second base, Kendall Coleman sent him home with a base hit to make it 4-0.
That was plenty enough support for Koerner and reliever James Reeves. Reeves took over in the seventh and picked up right where his starter had begun. Reeves retired all six hitters he faced, striking out three of the Tourists hitters. Of the 24 pitches he threw, 19 were strikes. Those kind of numbers had to be making the Charleston pitching coach happy.
Jackson finished 3-4 with 2-runs scored and 2-doubles. He also drove in a run. Holder had two hits as did Thairo Estrada.
These two teams will go at it again tomorrow at 7:05. Asheville (1-4) sends David Hill (0-0, 3.00) to the mound against the Charleston RiverDogs (4-1) Domingo Acevedo (0-0, 7.36).
By Robert Pannier