Rogers’ Arm, Park’s Bat Lead Charleston RiverDogs to 3-1 Victory
The red-hot Charleston RiverDogs headed out for their first road game of the season, looking to keep their fast start going. Home cooking had been good to them, as they were 6-1 through their first two series, but the road proved to be just as hospitable Thursday night as the RiverDogs defeated the Augusta Green Jackets, 3-1, before a crowd of 4,135 who had come to see the Green Jackets open their new park, Lake Olmstead Stadium.
Charleston set the tone from the very start. Phil Bickford (0-2) started for Augusta and he was able to strike out the RiverDogs leadoff hitter, but Hoy Jun Park followed with a triple to the wall in right field. Trey Amburgey then lined a double into left field and it was 1-0.
In the top of the fourth, the RiverDogs would extend their lead. Chris Gittens began the inning with a double, but Bickford was able to retire the next two hitters without Gittens being able to advance. That brought Thairo Estrada to the plate, who delivered a huge clutch single to right field that sent Gittens racing home to make it 2-0.
In the top of the fifth Bickford was replaced by Tyler Cyr and he was able to retire the first two batters of the inning, but he could not get past the pesky Park. Charleston’s designated hitter drilled another line drive to the wall, and raced around the bases and into third for his second triple of the game. Amburgey then grounded to the Green Jackets shortstop, but his throw to first was wild and Park scored to extend the lead to three.
Rogers had been dominant through the first four innings. The lefty showed great poise, especially when his defense made some miscues that allowed for extra batters to come to the plate for Augusta. In the second he found himself in a little trouble after Kelvin Beltre led off with a double. Two batters later Manuel Gerardo grounded to short, but an error by Kyle Holder, one of three on the day, allowed Gerardo to reach. Rogers was unfazed, striking out the next two hitters to end the threat.
Those two strike outs began a stretch of nine straight hitters retired. He set down Augusta in order in the third and fourth, and retired the first batter in the fifth, but then the Green Jackets were able to get a run back.
Zack Bowers got the rally going with a single and he moved to second on a throwing error by the shortstop. Ashford Fulmer then grounded to short, but another error allowed him to reach and Bowers to go to third. Rogers was able to pick off Fulmer, getting him in a rundown where he was eventually tagged out, but Bowers scored on the play to make it 3-1.
That was all the offense that either team could muster. Rogers (1-1) retired the Green Jackets in order in the sixth. That would be his last inning of work. He allowed only 3-hits and walk in 6-innings while striking out 8.
From there, Daris Vargas took over and he was awesome. Vargas joined the RiverDogs staff earlier in the day after remaining in extended Spring Training when the season began. The extra work paid off. The right-hander was completely unhittable, yielding only a walk in his three innings of work while striking out 5 in recording his first save.
Park finished the day 2-4 with 2 runs and 2 triples. He also drew a walk.
These two teams will square off tomorrow. The Charleston RiverDogs will send Simon De la Rosa (0-0, 10.80) to the hill to face Logan Webb (0-0, 6.75) of the Augusta Green Jackets. Game time is 7:05.
By Robert Pannier