RiverDogs Offense on Display to Give Nick Nelson First Win, 14-1
A night after the Charleston RiverDogs pounded the Rome Braves for 11-runs off of 13-hits, the team responded with another big offensive night, rapping out 14-hits in the 14-1 victory over the Braves. Isiah Gilliam and Brandon Wagner each drove in 3-runs for Charleston, and Nick Nelson finally got a huge monkey off his back, earning his first victory of the season.
Charleston jumped out in front when the first four batters of the game reached. Hoy Jun Park and Diego Castillo led off with back-to-back singles to put runners at the corners with no one out. Next up was Blake Rutherford, who grounded a single into right that scored Park. Estevan Florial was then hit by a pitch and the bases were loaded with no one out. Next up was Isiah Gilliam, who grounded out, moving up the runners 90-feet. Castillo scored on the play and it was 2-0. Brandon Wagner then grounded out to score Rutherford and the Charleston RiverDogs were up by three.
In the top of the second, the RiverDogs extended their lead to five. Ben Ruta started off the inning with a double into the gap in right-center. A ground out moved him to third before Park struck out. It looked like Charleston would come away empty-handed, but Castillo reached on an error to scored Ruta to make it 4-0. Rutherford followed with a single that moved Castillo to third, and he scored on a single by Estevan Florial. That extended the lead to five.
In the fourth, Charleston blew this game open. Park was hit by a pitch to start the frame and Castillo followed by singling into left putting two on. Rutherford flew out before Florial grounded out to put runners at second and third with two down. It looked like the RiverDogs would come away empty-handed, but they put together a two-out rally for the ages. Isiah Gilliam walked to load the bases. Wagner followed by lining a single up the middle that scored both Park and Castillo and it was 7-0.
Matt Custred came on in relief, but he could not stop the rally. It looked like he would get out of the inning right away when Mandy Alvarez grounded to second, but the ball was booted and Gilliam scored on the play. Ruta followed with a base hit that brought home Wagner and, after a passed ball moved both runners into scoring position, Ryan Lidge lined a base hit into center field that scored both runners to make the score 11-0.
In the seventh, the Charleston RiverDogs extended their lead to 14. Lidge singled to start the inning and Castillo reached on an error two batters later. With two down, Florial beat out an infield hit that scored Lidge as a throwing error moved both runners into scoring position. Gilliam then singled down the right field line to score both runners to extend the lead to 14.
Rome would get on the board in the bottom of the seventh. Marcus Mooney tripled with one down and he scored on a ground out. That made it 14-1.
Nick Nelson (1-6) started for Charleston and finally earned his first win of the season. The right-hander allowed 6-hits and 2-walks in 5-innings pitched. He did not allow a run and struck out 5. The right-hander looked solid, throwing 49 of his 76 pitches for strikes.
Diego Castillo was 2-6 with 4-runs scored for Charleston. Isiah Gilliam and Brandon Wagner drove in 3-runs apiece and Ben Ruta was 3-5 with 2-runs scored and an RBI. The Rome offense was led by Carlos Martinez, who was 4-4.
The final game of this four-game set is tomorrow. Brian Keller (5-5, 3.52) will head to the hill for the Charleston RiverDogs. He will be opposed by Joey Wentz (3-3, 3.31). First pitch is scheduled for 7:00.
By Robert Pannier