Blake Rutherford Stays Red Hot in Leading RiverDogs to 12-4 Victory
The Charleston RiverDogs (3-1) needed two late comebacks to earn their first two wins of the season, but Sunday evening they hammered out a season-high 15-hits and 12-runs in a 12-4 thumping of the Lexington Legends. Blake Rutherford continued his early season onslaught, adding 3-hits, 3-doubles, and 2-RBI, and two other Charleston players had 3-hits to help give Brian Keller his first win of the season.
For the third time in this series, the Legends got on the scoreboard first. In the top of the second, Keller retired the first hitter of the inning, but Manny Olloque followed with a home run over the right field fence to give his team the lead.
The RiverDogs responded right away with a run in the bottom half of the frame. Estevan Florial doubled to begin the inning and moved to third on a ground out. Following a walk to Carlos Vidal, Brandon Wagner singled to right field to score Florial and the game was tied at one.
In the bottom of the third, Charleston took the lead, a lead they would not relinquish. With one out, Diego Castillo singled and moved to third on a Blake Rutherford double to center field. Ofreidy Gomez then got Angel Aguilar to ground out with both runners holding. It was his chance to get out of the inning unscathed, but a wild pitch brought home Castillo. Following a walk to Florial, Leonardo Molina singled to center, scoring both runners. That made the score 4-1.
In the top of the fourth, the Legends responded with two runs. Keller retired the first two batters of the inning, but Olloque kept the frame alive with a double. Ricky Aracena singled to bring home Olloque, and he moved to third on a throwing error by the Charleston right fielder. Angelo Castellano followed with a sharp single to score Aracena and it was 4-3.
In the bottom half of the inning, Charleston restored their three-run lead. Wagner began the inning with a double and moved to third on a wild pitch. Following a strike out, Hoy Jun Park and Diego Castillo drew back-to-back walks and the bases were loaded with one out. Next up was Rutherford, who lined his second double of the game into center, scoring Wagner and Park to make it 6-3.
In the fifth, the Charleston RiverDogs blew the game open. With Travis Eckert taking over the hill, Molina started the frame by reaching on an error. Back-to-back singles by Vidal and Wagner loaded the bases and there was no one out. Eckert struck out Eduardo Navas, but Park lined a single to right field that scored both Molina and Vidal and it was 8-3. Castillo followed with a single to score Park, and Rutherford doubled down the line in right field to put runners at second and third. Aguilar brought home the final run of the inning with a sacrifice fly and it was 11-3.
Both teams would add one additional run. The RiverDogs plated theirs in the seventh when leadoff man Hoy Jun Park delivered the first home run of the season for Charleston. Lexington got their run in the ninth when Olloque led off with a double and later scored on a wild pitch.
Manny Olloque went 3-4 with 3-runs, 2-doubles, and an RBI for Lexington. Blake Rutherford was 3-5 with a run, 3-doubles, and 2-RBI for Charleston. He is hitting .500 through the first four games with 5-RBI. Hoy Jun Park finished 2-4 with 3-runs and 3-RBI. Brandon Wagner continues his hot start as well, going 3-5 with 2-runs and an RBI. He is hitting .455 early on.
The Charleston RiverDogs welcome the Augusta GreenJackets for the first game of a three-game set tomorrow. Nick Nelson will go for the RiverDogs. He will be opposed by Caleb Baragar. First pitch is 7:05.
By Robert Pannier