Wild Pitch Gives RiverDogs Walk-Off Victory, 9-8
Dramatics have been the way to success early on this season for the Charleston RiverDogs, After a four-game series with the Lexington Legends, where Charleston won two of those contests with come from behind victories, including battling back from down three to win in the ninth in the second game of the season, Monday night the RiverDogs welcomed the Augusta GreenJackets to town and found themselves trailing by three entering the bottom of the sixth, yet they would tie the score, and then win in the bottom of the ninth on a wild pitch to earn the walk-off, 9-8, victory.
Caleb Baragar started for Augusta against Nick Nelson, and both pitchers kept the game scoreless through the first inning. In the second, Augusta took the lead. Ryan Kirby was hit by a pitch to start the inning, and moved to second when Jacob Heyward drew a walk. A wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position, and Kelvin Beltre followed with a double that scored both runners. He moved to third on a ground out and scored on a ground out by Will Albertson to make it 3-0.
In the bottom half of the inning, Charleston would get two of those runs back. Isiah Gilliam started the inning with a single to left, and Donny Sands followed with a line drive single to center. A wild pitch moved both runners up 90 feet, and Oswaldo Cabrera then hit a sacrifice fly to center that scored Gilliam. Sands looked to move to third and would have been nailed, but the Augusta fielder could not handle the throw and Sands was safe. He scored on a sacrifice fly to make it 3-2.
In the bottom of the third, the RiverDogs would take the lead. Diego Castillo started the inning with a single, but Baragar retired the next two hitters. However, Gilliam walked to keep the inning alive and Sands was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Cabrera then grounded to third, but Ryan Kirby could not make the play and both Castillo and Gilliam scored.
In the top of the fourth, the GreenJackets would tie the score. Beltre walked with one down and moved to third on an error on a ground ball to short that Hoy Jun Park misplayed. Will Albertson then grounded to Park who threw him out, but Beltre scored on the play.
The RiverDogs retook the lead in the bottom half of the inning when they would score without recording a hit. Brandon Wagner was hit by a pitch to start the bottom of the frame and moved to second on a wild pitch. Park flew out to right, with Wagner tagging on the play and reaching third, and he scored on a ground out by Castillo.
In the top of the sixth the Augusta GreenJackets took a commanding three-run lead. Kirby struck out to lead off the inning, but the third strike went for a wild pitch and he reached first base on the play. Heyward followed with a single and moved to second on a ground. That put two runners in scoring position with one down. A wild pitch scored Kirby before Tyler Brown walked to put runners at the corners. Albertson followed with a lined single to left that brought home Heyward, and Brown scored on a double by Kevin Rivera.
That would bring a call to the Charleston bullpen and Trevor Lane entered the game. Anthony Marks greeted the reliever with a suicide bunt that scored Albertson and Augusta led 8-5.
Charleston responded in the bottom half of the inning. Leonardo doubled to start the inning and moved to third on a wild pitch. Park singled to bring him home and Castillo followed with a single that put runners at the corners with one out.
Jeff Burke came onto relieve, but he could not end the threat. With Blake Rutherford at the plate, Castillo stole second, but Rutherford struck out to make it two down. Angel Aguilar then delivered a huge two-out hit that scored both runners and the game was tied.
In the top of the eighth the GreenJackets looked like they would retake the lead. With two down, Albertson was hit by a pitch. That brought Rivera to the plate, who lined a double over the head of Molina and to the wall in left. Albertson was sent home, but a great relay from Molina to Park to Sands nailed the runner at the plate to keep the score tied.
That would give Charleston their chance to win in the ninth. With Cesar Yanez on the hill, Castillo walked to start the inning. A wild pitch moved him to second and Rutherford then drew a walk to put two on. Yanez was then called for a balk before he walked Aguilar to load the bases with no one out. Gilliam had the chance to be the hero, but before he could get his bat on the ball, Yanez uncorked another wild pitch, bringing home Castillo and the Charleston RiverDogs were winners, 9-8.
Trevor Lane (2-0) earned his second win on the early season, pitching 3.2 innings of one-hit ball. He struck out 2. Diego Castillo was 2-4 for Charleston with 3-runs scored and an RBI. Isiah Gilliam scored twice and Angel Aguilar had 2-hits and 2-RBI. For the GreenJackets, Ryan Kirby, Jacob Heyward, and Kelvin Beltre each scored 2-runs. Will Albertson drove in 3.
These two teams will go at it again tomorrow evening. Albert Abreu will go for the Chaleston RiverDogs (4-1). He will be opposed by Stephen Woods. First pitch is 7:05.
By Robert Pannier