Three-Run Eighth Gives Delmarva Comeback Victory, 4-3
There was one thing that had been an absolute certainty so far this season for the Charleston RiverDogs. If they were leading at any point after the fifth inning they held every one of those leads, that is until Sunday afternoon. Six straight hits in the eighth inning by the Delmarva Shorebirds erased a two-run deficit and helped the home team to a 4-3 victory and a split in their four-game series with the RiverDogs.
The Shorebirds would come out flying right off, scoring a run in the bottom of the first against Adonis Rosa. Ryan McKenna doubled to get the inning started and scored when Chris Clare looped a base hit into right field that made it 1-0.
It would stay that way through the first four innings as Travis Seabrooke looked incredibly sharp early on for Delmarva. In the fifth, Charleston finally tied the score. With one out, Diego Castillo and Isiah Gilliam drew back-to-back walks. Oswaldo Cabrera then singled to right to score Castillo and the game was tied.
It would stay so until the top of the seventh, when the RiverDogs would grab the lead. Jhon Peluffo came on in relief and issued back-to-back walks to Gilliam and Cabrera. A force out by Leonardo Molina placed runners at the corners for Estevan Florial. He singled between first and second to put Charleston on top for the first time in the contest. The runners were still at the corners when Angel Aguilar grounded to third baseman Collin Woody who threw home to nail Molina and put runners at first and second. It looked like Peluffo might get out of the inning without any further damage, but back-to-back wild pitches scored Florial to extend the lead to two.
Trevor Lane had relieved Rosa in the sixth and looked to close the door. He pitched two scoreless innings through the sixth and seventh, moving his scoreless innings streak to start the season to 14.2, but that would come to an end in the eighth.
Jake Ring, Chris Clare, and Preston Palmeiro started off with three straight singles to load the bases. Woody then ripped a single to center that moved everyone up 90-feet and made it a one-run ballgame. That would also be the end for Lane.
Christian Morris came on in relief and Gerrion Grim greeted him with a base hit to right that tied the score. Daniel Fajardo followed with a single to give Delmarva the lead. This game could have gotten ugly, but Morris got a shallow fly ball for an out, a force out at the plate, and finished the inning off by striking out McKenna to end the threat.
Trailing 4-3, the Charleston RiverDogs looked for the comeback in the ninth, but Jake Bray was having none of it. Bray retired the RiverDogs in order for his third save of the season. Peluffo (3-0) earned the victory and Lane (4-1) suffered his first loss of the year.
Estevan Florial was 2-5 with a run and an RBI for Charleston. Isiah Gilliam finished 1-2 with a run and 2-walks. The Delmarva Shorebirds offense was led by Daniel Fajardo, who finished 3-4 with a double and an RBI. Chris Clare was 2-4 with a run and an RBI and Gerrion Grim was 2-4 with a run batted in.
Following 25 straight games to start the South Atlantic League season, the Charleston RiverDogs (13-12) finally have a day off tomorrow. They resume on Tuesday at home against Lakewood.
By Robert Pannier