Charleston RiverDogs starter Domingo Acevedo has looked impressive since his first start of the season, but none more so than he did on Wednesday morning. A night after the team needed six innings from their bullpen in an 11-inning win, the big right-hander pitched eight outstanding innings leading his team to a 3-2 victory over the Lakewood BlueClaws.
As has been the case so many times this season, the RiverDogs offense struggled early, but came alive at the right time to give the team the late victory. Both Acevedo and BlueClaws starter Shane Watson were pitching well early on. Watson retired the first 10 batters he faced, with SS Thairo Estrada breaking up the string. Conner Spencer followed with a single that put two on with one out, but the Lakewood starter got a ground out before a caught stealing ended the inning.
Acevedo was even more incredible, retiring the side in order through the first four innings, and striking out the first batter of the fifth to retire 13 in a row. The BlueClaws finally were able to stop the perfect game when Damek Tomscha doubled to center field, and the shutout came to an end when Jiandido Tromp reached on an error that scored Tomscha.
Charleston tied the score in the top of the sixth when Angel Aguilar ripped a Watson offering over the left field wall for his second homerun of the season.
The score remained tied heading to the top of the eighth when Watson would be replaced by Zach Morris. Morris retired the first two hitters of the inning, but then Radley Haddad delivered a double to keep the inning alive. Jeff Hendrix followed with a single that scored Haddad and gave Charleston their first lead of the game. After stealing second, the center fielder’s fifth stolen base of the year, Estrada singled to center field to score Hendrix and make the score 3-1.
Acevedo continued to dominate following the unearned run in the fifth. He retired the side in order in the sixth, and gave up a one out walk in the seventh. The right-hander had allowed just one hit through seven. In the eighth he retired the first two batters, but Samuel Hiciano pulled Lakewood within one when he ripped a pinch-hit solo homerun over the left field wall to make the score 3-2. It was Hiciano’s second home run of the year.
Acevedo (2-0) retired the final hitter of the eighth before his day was over. The RiverDogs starter went eight innings, allowing just 2-hits, a walk and 1-earned run. He also struck out 9. The performance lowered his ERA to 1.91. Since allowing three runs in 3.2 innings in his first outing of the year, he has allowed just three earned runs in 24.2 innings.
In the bottom of the ninth Charleston turned to Andrew Schwaab to close it out. The RiverDogs closer allowed a lone single to begin the inning, but then struck out the next two hitters, before getting the final out for his fourth save of the season.
Estrada followed up his 4-6 performance Tuesday night with a 2-4 day at the plate on Wednesday. That has raised his average to .324.
These two teams will square off again on Thursday. Game time is 6:35. Luke Leftwich (0-1, 3.75) will go for Lakewood. Charleston has not named their starter.
By Robert Pannier