Estevan Florial, RiverDogs Pound Augusta, 18-4
The Charleston RiverDogs have been looking for a little more consistency out of their offense this season, and they got a real taste of how good they can be on Saturday, as every player in the starting lineup had at least one hit and a run scored, as Charleston set a season high for runs scored and hits in the 18-4 victory over the Augusta GreenJackets. Estevan Florial led the charge with 4-runs and 3-RBI and Carlos Vidal had 3-runs and 3-RBI to pace the thrashing.
This game got off for a great start when Charleston scored four-runs in the bottom half of the first. Caleb Baragar started for Augusta, and Florial got the inning started with a single. Angel Aguilar followed with a single, and Florial scored when Blake Rutherford grounded a base hit into right field. Next up was Donny Sands, who reached on an error that scored Aguilar and put him at second and Rutherford at third. Isiah Gilliam followed with a single that plated both runners and five batters into the game it was already 4-0.
In the top of the second Augusta got those runs right back against RiverDogs starter Nick Green. Skyler Ewing was hit by a pitch to start the inning and moved to third on a single by Frandy De La Rosa. Jacob Heyward then lined a single back up the box that scored Ewing. Following a Ryan Kirby walk that loaded the bases, Manuel Geraldo grounded into a force play that scored De La Rosa and cut the GreenJackets deficit to two. Two batters later, Cristian Paulino made it a one-run game when he singled center and Sandro Fabian tied the score with an infield single.
It was an amazing turn of events, but in the fourth the Charleston RiverDogs would pound out six-runs and take command of this contest. Gilliam led off the inning with a single and moved to second on a wild pitch. Diego Castillo followed with a single that moved Gilliam to third and he scored on a base hit by Ben Ruta. Oswaldo Cabrera then walked to load the bases and Carlos Vidal followed with a single to center that scored Castillo to make it 6-4. Estevan Florial continued the inning when drew a walk to score Ruta and that was it for Baragar.
Raffi Vizcaino relieved, but he could not slow down the RiverDogs offense, thanks to a defensive miscue. Aguilar greeted the reliever with a sacrifice fly that scored Cabrera and a throwing error moved both runners into scoring position. Rutherford then delivered a sacrifice fly that scored Vidal and Sands’ single plated Florial to make it 10-4.
It was an amazing show of offense for the RiverDogs and they were just getting started. In the fifth, they extended their lead to 10. Castillo singled to start the inning before Ruta walked. Cabrera then grounded to second but all runners were safe on the fielder’s choice. Vidal plated a run when he grounded a single into right field that scored Castillo, and an error by the right fielder allowed both Vidal and Cabrera to come home as well. Florial then lined a double down the line in right field and he scored on a single by Sands that made it 14-4.
Charleston had one more big inning left in them. In the bottom of the eighth, Castillo singled with one out and Ruta replaced him on the base paths after grounding into a fielder’s choice. Cabrera kept the inning alive by beating out a ground ball to first and Vidal then lined a double to the gap in left that scored Ruta. Florial’s single scored both runners, and he came home on a triple by Aguilar. That made it 18-4 which would be the final.
Lost in the huge offensive showcase was the performance of Raynel Espinal (1-0). He relieved for Green following the four run second, and tossed 6 shutout innings, only allowing 2-hits. He also struck out 8 and earned his first win of the season.
The 18-runs were a season best by the Charleston RiverDogs, topping a 14-run performance that they have accomplished twice this year. Their 20-hits was also a season high. Estevan Florial finished the day 4-5 with 4-runs, a double and 3-RBI. Carlos Vidal was 3-5 with 3-runs, a double and 3-RBI, and Diego Castillo finished 3-5 with 2-runs scored. Donny Sands also drove in 3. Augusta got 2-hits each from Cristian Paulino, Frandy De La Rosa, and Jacob Heyward.
These two teams will finish their series tomorrow at 5:05. Stephen Woods (2-3, 2.51) goes for the GreenJackets against Phillip Diehl (4-0, 2.63).
By Robert Pannier