Early Outburst Propels Charleston RiverDogs to 4-3 Victory
Four innings into Friday night’s contest with the West Virginia Power the Charleston RiverDogs looked like they were going to blowout the visitors, staking themselves to a 4-0 lead. However, West Virginia scored three runs over the final four innings to pull within one before Andrew Schwaab closed the door on the 4-3 victory.
It may be West Virginia that calls themselves the Power, but it was the RiverDogs who were flexing their muscles early in this contest. After the visitors were unable to score in the first against Charleston starter Christian Morris, Jeff Hendrix led off the bottom of the first with his first home run of the year. Hoy Jun Park followed with a sharp single to right, then stole second base off of Power starter J.T. Brubaker with first baseman Chris Gittens standing at the plate. Gittens followed the stolen base with a crushing blow over the left field wall, and the RiverDogs had a quick 3-0 lead. The shot was Gittens second home run this season.
It remained that way until the bottom of the fourth when Jhalan Jackson would extend the lead. The RiverDogs right fielder turned on a Brubaker offering and crushed it over the center field wall to extend the lead to four. It was Jackson’s second home run of the season, and second in two games.
Through the first five innings Morris (1-0) was cruising for Charleston. The right-hander allowed just 3-hits and a walk, while allowing no runs and striking 3. Morris has not allowed a run in his two appearances for the RiverDogs, a span of 8.1 innings. He would leave after throwing 67 pitches.
Jose Mesa came on in relief in the sixth and the Power tapped him for two runs over the next three innings. In the top of the sixth Tito Polo led off by drawing a walk, and Ty Moore reached on an error to put two on with no one out. A hard single by Ke’Bryan Hayes loaded the bases, and Casey Hughston grounded into a double-play that scored Polo to make it 4-1.
In the top of the eighth, West Virginia added another run, and it was Polo and Moore that got it started again. Polo led off with a single and moved to third when Moore doubled into the gap in right field. That brought a pitching change, as closer Andrew Schwaab came on. He got Polo at the plate on a comebacker, but Moore scored on a ground out to make it 4-2.
In the top of the ninth the game got real interesting. Daniel Arribas started the inning by reaching on an error and Ryan Nagle drew a walk to put two on and no one out. A force play put runners at the corners, and a single by Christian Kelley scored Arribas to make it 4-3. More importantly, the tying run was at second base and there was only one out. Schwaab remained cool, however, getting a pop out and a fly out to end the game for his fifth save of the season.
Two players for West Virginia had two hits apiece, Polo and Kelley. No RiverDogs player had more than one hit. Gittens drove in two.
These two teams move on. West Virginia (16-11) returns home to take on Hagerstown Saturday night. Charleston (19-8) welcomes Hickory (19-9) to town in a battle to see which team will reach 20 wins first. Cody Carroll (0-1, 2.66) will go for the Charleston RiverDogs. Game time is 6:05.
By Robert Pannier