Nick Green Rebounds to Bogey GreenJackets, 7-2
It has been a tough start to the 2017 season for Charleston RiverDogs starter Nick Green, who was tabbed as the opening day starter for the team, but Monday evening he shined, pitching five solid innings of 2-hit ball to lead the RiverDogs to a 7-2 victory over the Augusta GreenJackets. Charleston pounded out 12-hits in the game, as four players had at least 2-hits, and Brandon Wagner and Blake Rutherford each scored 2-runs to give Charleston their third victory over Augusta in four games this season.
The GreenJackets took the lead in the bottom of the first inning. Anthony Marks reached first on an error to start the inning and moved to second on a base hit by Sandro Fabian. Kelvin Beltre lined a single to right field and it looked like Green was going to have another tough outing, but Skyler Ewing lined into a double-play to slow the early run before a wild pitch scored Marks to make it 1-0.
In the top of the second, the RiverDogs got the run right back. Rutherford started the inning by drawing a walk and then stole second, his fourth steal of the year. Donny Sands followed with a line drive single to right that easily scored Rutherford and the game was tied.
This was an outstanding pitchers’ duel through the first three frames, but in the fourth Charleston jumped out in front. Rutherford got the inning started again with a double down the line in right. He then stole third and scored when Sands drilled a double to the wall in right to make it 2-1. Sands tried to stretch that hit into a trouble, but a great throw by Fabian gunned him down. Wagner then doubled and moved to third on a ground out. With a runner at third and two down, a passed ball allowed Wagner to score and the lead the two.
In the top of the fifth, the Charleston RiverDogs moved their lead to three. Hoy Jun Park singled to lead off the frame and then stole second. He moved to third on a ground out, and a ground out by Diego Castillo scored Park to make it 4-1.
The Augusta GreenJackets got that run right back in the bottom half of the inning. After giving up the run in the first, Green had been brilliant over the next three innings. He allowed just two walks over that time, while striking out six.
In the fifth, Kevin Rivera walked to get the inning started, and was replaced on the bases by a fielder’s choice by Marks. Fabian then reached on catcher’s interference and a fielder’s choice put runners at the corners with two down. After a walk to Skyler Ewing, Marks scored on a wild pitch by Green. That made it 4-2, but the GreenJackets would get no closer.
Nick Green earned his first victory of the season, going 5-innings, allowing 2-hits, 2-runs, none earned, and walked 5. He struck out a season high 8 and threw 93-pitches. From there the bullpen took over and looked amazing. Kolton Mahoney pitched 2.1 innings of 2-hit, shutout ball, while striking out 3. Anyelo Gomez pitched the final 1.2-innings of perfect relief for his second save of the season.
This remained a tight game until the top of the eighth when the RiverDogs gave themselves a comfortable lead. With one down, Wagner and Oswaldo Cabrera delivered back-to-back singles. Isiah Gilliam then doubled to score both runners. Next up was Carlos Vidal, who delivered a bloop single that brought Gilliam home to make it 7-2. That would be the final.
The Charleston RiverDogs got 2-5 performances out of Estevan Florial, Donny Sands, and Brandon Wagner. Wagner scored 2-runs and Sands drove a run. Isiah Gilliam drove in 2.
These two teams continue their series in Augusta on Tuesday night. Albert Abreu (1-0, 0.93) starts for the RiverDogs against LHP Domenic Mazza (0-2, 10.80). Game time is 7:05.
By Robert Pannier