Charleston RiverDogs Win in Walk-Off Fashion Again, Down Fireflies 6-5
If you are a Charleston RiverDogs fan you have to be loving the drama the team has already provided this season. Thursday and Friday night they opened the season with back-to-back walk-off ninth inning victories. Last night they were no-hit by the Columbia Fireflies, and Sunday evening the team pulled off another dramatic walk-off victory, this time coming from a run down in the ninth to win on a two-run single by Thairo Estrada that moved the team to 3-1 on the season.
For Columbia, this was another example of the team getting great starting pitching and early hitting to stake the team to a lead, only to watch the bullpen fail in their ability to close it out for the win. The Fireflies jumped out to the 2-0 lead in the top of the second against Charleston starter Simon De la Rosa.
The RiverDogs starter retired the first two hitters of the inning, but then gave up the dreaded two out walk to Jeff Diehl. Joe Tuschak then ripped a double to the wall in right that moved Diehl to third. Back-to-back walks to Jose Garcia and Ivan Wilson scored Diehl, and when Kevin Kaczmarski walked, the third batter in a row to receive a free pass, Tuschak scored and that would be all for De la Rosa.
In the fourth, Columbia would extend their lead. Tuschak started the inning with his second double of the game. Cody Carroll struck out the next two batters but a passed ball moved the runner to third, and he scored on a single by Kaczmarski.
In the bottom of the fourth, Charleston got two of those runs back. Trey Amburgey started the inning with a double and moved to third on a wild pitch. Chris Gittens then ripped a double down the line in right field to score Amburgey to make it 3-1. Next up was Connor Spencer, who also hit a double that brought in Givens to make it 3-2.
The inning could have gotten a whole lot worse, but Fireflies starter Kevin Canelon made some unbelievable pitches to keep it a one-run lead. Following the Spencer double, Kyle Holder reached on a single that deflected off the Columbia first baseman’s glove. Kendall Coleman then walked to load the bases, and there was no one out. That was when Canelon dug down deep. He got Angel Aguilar to pop out, and then struck out Eduardo Navas, before retiring Jeff Hendrix on a ground out to end the inning.
The stellar job done by their pitcher to preserve the lead seemed to have sparked the offense in their next at-bats. Dash Winningham led off the top of the fifth with a single, and scored when David Thompson followed with a triple to the wall in deep center field to make it 4-2. Thompson scored on a throwing error to extend the lead back to three.
The score would remain 5-2 until the bottom of the seventh. Aguilar was the first batter of the inning and he delivered a solo home run to make it 5-3. That was his first home run of the year. Eduardo Navas was then hit by a pitch. Two batters later, Estrada tripled to center field to bring home Navas and the RiverDogs were back within one.
It was 5-4 entering the bottom of the ninth, and Columbia looked to Witt Haggard to try to preserve the lead. He had already lost the second game of the series, and was looking for a little redemption.
Aguilar started it off by drawing a walk. Navas then walked to put two on with no one out. Hoy Jun Park pinch-ran for Navas, and Hendrix then drew a walk to load the bases. That brought Estrada to the plate with a chance to have another big hit, and he delivered. Estrada ripped a single into right field. Kaczmarski came up with the ball and fired home, but Park just beat the throw for the game-winning score.
Andrew Schwaab (2-0) earned his second win of the series. Haggard took his second loss.
Vinny Siena had three hits for Columbia. Tuschak was 2-4 with 2 runs and 2 doubles for the visitors. Holder and Estrada each had two hits. Estrada drove in three.
From Charleston, the Fireflies move on to face the Rome Braves (2-2). The Charleston RiverDogs welcome Asheville Monday night at 7:05 ET. Trey Killian (0-0) will go for the Tourists against Brody Koerner (0-0).
By Robert Pannier