Nestor Cortes Continues to Dominate in Charleston RiverDogs 5-1 Victory
The last game of the South Atlantic League schedule before Tuesday night’s all-star game proved exactly why Charleston RiverDogs’ starter Nestor Cortes was a late addition to the squad. The left-hander allowed just 3-hits in seven shutout innings and Chris Gittens hit his 12th homerun of the season to lead the RiverDogs to a 5-1 victory over the West Virginia Power. That gave them three victories in the four-game series.
The RiverDogs gave their starter a lead right away, scoring one-run in the first inning. West Virginia starter Gage Hinsz retired the first two hitters of the inning, but Chris Gittens kept the inning alive with a double into center field. Angel Aguilar followed with a single to score Gittens and it was 1-0 Charleston.
In the fifth, they extended the lead and it was Gittens once again who led the way. The Charleston RiverDogs first baseman led off the frame with his 12th homer of the year, tying him for first in the South Atlantic League.
Those two runs would be all the scoring that Cortes would need. The lefty was absolutely devastating in his seven innings of work. He had a no-hitter going into the fifth, but saw that come to an end when Tyler Filliben singled with one out in the fifth. That hit made it first and second with one out, but Cortes got back-to-back ground outs to end the threat.
The only other hits against the Charleston starter came in the seventh when the Power would threaten again. Logan Hill singled with one out and stole second base. Ryan Nagle followed with a double to left, but Hill could not tell if the ball would drop in or not, and by the time he realized that it was going to be a hit, he could only reach third. Cortes made the Power pay for the base-running error, striking out Filliben before getting a fly ball to end the inning.
Cortes (4-1) would be done after seven outstanding innings. The lefty allowed 3-hits and 2-walks with no earned runs. He also struck out 6.
In the top of the eighth, the RiverDogs made sure that their starter’s efforts were not in vain. Jhalan Jackson singled with one out and Austin Afenir followed with a walk to put two on. Next up was Alexander Palma, who drilled a three-run homer over the left-center field wall to extend the lead to 5-0. It was Palma’s second homerun of the year.
Willie Gabay took over for Cortes and retired the Power in order in the eighth, but West Virginia would get one run off reliever Garrett Mundell in the ninth. Carlos Munoz doubled with one out and scored on a double by Nagle. That would be the last run of the contest as the Charleston RiverDogs won 5-1.
Gittens had another outstanding offensive effort, posting a 2-4 day with 2-runs scored and an RBI. Jackson was 2-5 and scored a run.
Both teams will head into the All-Star break now. A feature on Kendall Coleman will appear on the Minor League Sports Report on Tuesday.
By Robert Pannier