Late Rally Spoils Toussaint’s Gem; RiverDogs win 4-2
For six innings Tuesday night, the Charleston RiverDogs had no answer for Rome Braves starter Touki Toussaint. The right-hander dominated with six shutout innings, spoiling a great outing by Yefrey Ramirez, but a three-run rally in the eighth against the Rome bullpen turned the tide and gave the RiverDogs the 4-2 victory.
The Braves took the lead in the bottom of the first against Ramirez when Ray-Patrick Didder tripled to begin the frame and scored on a sacrifice fly by Luke Dykstra. That made it 1-0 and the one-run looked like that was all Rome would need on this night for the victory.
Toussaint was absolutely dominant in his six innings of work. Through the first three frames the only person to reach base came on a two out walk in the second inning. In the fourth, Charleston had their best chance against him when Chris Gittens walked with one out and Connor Spencer followed with a single to put two on with just one out. However, the Rome starter struck out the next two batters to end the threat.
Toussaint brought his “A” Game on this night, mesmerizing the RiverDogs with his assortment of pitches. He would not strike out his first batter until there were two outs in the second, but that led to a span of him recording nine of the next 13 outs via the K. At one point, seven of the eight outs he recorded were by strikeouts as the RiverDogs just flailed at his pitches without any success.
Ramirez was no slouch on this night either. After yielding the first inning run, he was absolutely spectacular himself. The Charleston right-hander allowed two hits in the first inning, but then just one more over the next six innings. Including the final two outs of the first, Coleman retired 16 straight batters. His streak finally ended with a two out hit by Dykstra in the sixth. During that span he struck out 7.
Ramirez was absolutely awesome, but it looked like his outing was going to be for nothing. That is until the top of the eighth.
Oriel L. Caicedo relieved for Rome in the seventh and breezed through the inning, but in the next inning the wheels came off. Gosuke Katoh walked to get it started and moved to second when Cesar Diaz followed with a base hit. Looking for the double-play, Rome got an usual one. Hoy Jun Park flew to center field, and both runners decided to tag. Katoh was nailed heading for third on a perfect throw by Didder and it looked like the inning may be over, but Diaz stole third before Gittens was intentionally walked. Spencer was the next batter and he drilled a ball into center that dropped in for a double. Diaz scored to tie it and Gittens rolled into third. Austin Afenir followed with a double down the line in left, and Charleston was up 3-1.
Ramirez (3-1) was done after seven. Jose Mesa took over and gave up a run in the bottom half of the eighth. Alejandro Salazar singled to start the frame, but the next two hitters Mesa fanned. Dykstra singled to keep the inning alive and Salazar scored on a wild pitch.
Up by just one, the Charleston RiverDogs looked to add a little insurance in the ninth and they got it. Nathan Mikolas was hit by a pitch and moved to second on a line drive base hit by Leonardo Molina. A sacrifice bunt by Katoh moved both runners into scoring position, and Diaz drove Mikolas home on a ground out.
Andrew Schwaab came on in the ninth looking for his 1oth save. He retired the Braves in order, striking out the final batter of the game for the 4-2 win.
While Ramirez was the star of the game for the Charleston RiverDogs, Gittens and Spencer were the top offensive stars. Gittens walked three times and scored a run, and Spencer was 3-4 with a run and an RBI. Afenir plated two.
Game 3 of the series between these two teams is a 1:00 start tomorrow. Daris Vargas (4-2, 2.23) goes for the Charleston RiverDogs looking to end a two-game losing streak. Mike Soroka (1-5, 2.66) gets the start for Rome.
By Robert Pannier