Blake Rutherford Leads Offensive Show as RiverDogs Win, 11-2
Entering Wednesday night’s game against the Hickory Crawdads, the Charleston RiverDogs were just 2-5 in May and, sadly, all seven of those games had been at home. The RiverDogs went on the road Wednesday night, and quickly turned things around, scoring double-digit runs in their 11-2 victory. Blake Rutherford had 4-hits and drove in 3-runs and Jio Orozco earned his first win of the season to lead Charleston.
This game got off to a great start for the RiverDogs. Estevan Florial led off the game with a double and moved to third on a ground out. Following a walk to Hoy Jun Park, Rutherford drilled a line drive to the wall in center that he legged out for a triple. That scored both runners to make it 2-0.
It stayed that way until the third when Charleston extended their lead. Angel Aguilar started the frame by drawing a walk, but was forced on a fielder’s choice by Park. Rutherford followed with his second triple of the game, scoring Park to make it 3-0. Two batters later Carlos Vidal delivered the clutch two-out hit, beating out a ground ball for a single to make it a four-run lead. Isiah Gilliam walked and that would be it for Crawdads starter Kyle Cody.
Kaleb Fontenot relieved, but he could not stop the rally. Brandon Wagner greeted the reliever with a single that scored Vidal, and Gilliam came home when Wagner stole second and the throw from the catcher sailed into center field. That made it 6-0.
In the fifth, the RiverDogs put this game out of reach. Gilliam doubled with one out and moved to third on a single by Wagner. Two batters later, Florial came to the plate and lined a shot over the left field wall for his fourth homer of the year. That made the score 9-0, which was plenty enough support for Orozco on this night.
The Charleston starter had struggled early on this season, but he was in complete control in this game. Orozco (1-2) went 5-innings, allowing 2-hits and 2-walks with no runs allowed. He also struck out 3 in his best outing this season.
Hickory was down but not completely out. They would score single runs in the sixth and seventh to cut the deficit to seven. Miguel Aparicio led off the sixth with a double against Christian Morris and scored following two ground outs. In the seventh, Yeyson Yrizarri doubled with one out and scored on a single by Anderson Tejeda.
That was as close as Hickory would get, as Charleston extended their lead back to nine in the ninth. Rutherford started the inning with a single and scored when Donny Sands followed with a double. A wild pitch moved Sands to third and he scored on a ground out by Vidal to make it 11-2.
Blake Rutherford led the Charleston RiverDogs offense with a 4-5 performance, scoring 2-runs and driving in 3 to go along with 2-triples. Isiah Gilliam was 3-4 with 2-runs and 2-doubles. Estevan Florial was 2-5 with 2-runs, 3-RBI, a double and a home run. Yeyson Yrizarri led the Hickory Crawdads, going 2-2 with a run and a double.
This series continues tomorrow as Nick Nelson (0-2, 7.16) goes for the RiverDogs. Hickory has not named their starter. First pitch is 7:00.
By Robert Pannier