Kendall Coleman Goes Deep Twice to Give RiverDogs DH Split
Game 1 of Monday night’s double-header between the Charleston RiverDogs and the Delmarva Shorebirds was dominated by the home team, as Delmarva starter Brian Gonzalez shutdown the RiverDogs offense for six-innings in a 5-0 Shorebirds win. The Charleston offense seemed to have no answers in the first contest, but Game 2 was a different story, as Kendall Coleman homered twice to give Charleston a split, 7-2.
Game 1 was totally dominated by Gonzalez. The left-hander gave up a lone single in the first, but a caught stealing ended a threat before it could get started. In the second, Gonzalez gave up a lead-off walk and then hit the next batter, but then got another big defensive play, a double-play grounder that was followed by another ground out to end the frame.
Back-to-back two-out singles in the third gave the RiverDogs a chance to take the lead but, again, Gonzalez, came up huge, getting a ground out to end the inning and keep the score tied.
In the bottom of the third, the Shorebirds were able to take the lead. Starter Domingo Acevedo (2-1) had been cruising for Charleston through the first three innings, but a one-out triple by Cedric Mullins put a runner just 90-feet from scoring. Ricardo Andujar followed with a single to score Mullins and it was 1-0 Delmarva.
In the bottom of the fourth they would extend their lead. Yermin Mercedes singled to start the inning, and moved to second when Ademar Rifaela singled two batters later. A fielder’s choice put runners at the corners and Drew Turbin walked to load the bases. That brought Mullins back to the plate, and this time he delivered a clutch two-out double that scored three to make it 4-0. Mullins was able to come all the way around to score on the play when a mishap gave Mullins the extra base to make it 5-0.
That was all the scoring that either team would generate. Gonzalez (3-0) was spectacular, allowing just 4-hits and 2-walks, while striking out 3. He lowered his ERA to 2.70.
Mullins had a huge day at the plate for Delmarva. He was 3-3 with 2 runs and 2-RBI. The center fielder doubled twice and had a triple. Thairo Estrada had two of the RiverDogs four hits.
While Charleston’s offense was challenged in Game 1, that would not be the case in the nightcap, thanks in large part to Coleman. Neither team was able to plate a run in the first inning, but in the top of the second Francisco Jimenez issued a walk to Chris Gittens to start the frame. Next came up Coleman, who lined his first home run of the season over the right field wall to make it 2-0.
In the top of the fourth both teams would plate a run. Gittens got another inning started with a double to begin the frame. A passed ball moved him to third and he scored on a wild pitch.
Cody Carroll had allowed very little opportunity to Delmarva through the first three frames. However, they touched him for a run in the fourth when Andujar singled, and then Carroll issued back-t0-back walks to load the bases with one out. A ground out allowed a run to score and it was 3-1.
It would remain that way until the top of the sixth when the Charleston RiverDogs would blow the game open. Hoy Jun Park walked to start the inning, and Gittens would draw a walk two batters later. Next came up Coleman, who hit his second home run of the game, another lined home run over the right field wall. That made it 6-1.
Coleman had a most impressive day. The RiverDogs left fielder finished 2-2 with 2-runs and 5-RBI. He also drew a walk.
In the top of the seventh, both teams scored a run. Austin Afenir led off with a single and Carlos Vidal followed with a single of his own. Jeff Hendrix’s ground out scored Afenir and it was 7-1 Charleston.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Shorebirds got back-to-back singles to get the inning started. A sacrifice fly by Gerrion Grim scored Mercedes to make it 7-2, which would be the final.
Besides Coleman, Gittens also had a big day at the plate. The Charleston first baseman was 1-2 with 3-runs scored and he drew 2-walks.
Simon De la Rosa (1-1) earned the victory for Charleston with 2 perfect innings of relief in which he struck out 4. Francisco Jimenez (2-2) took the loss.
Both of these teams are off Tuesday. Delmarva (14-10) travels to Lexington to take on the Legends (10-15). Charleston (17-7) heads home where they will take on West Virginia (15-9).
By Robert Pannier