Five-run seventh gives Charleston their second comeback victory in as many nights
CHARLESTON, SC – For the second straight night, the Charleston RiverDogs found themselves behind, but battled back with late inning dramatics. Blake Rutherford roped a two out single to drive in two as part of a five-run seventh inning rally that lifted the RiverDogs over Lexington, 6-4, at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park on Saturday night.
Rutherford, the Yankees’ first round pick in last year’s draft, was the sixth of seven straight hitters to reach with two outs in the frame with the Simi Valley, Calif. native’s two RBI knock giving the RiverDogs their first lead of the ballgame, 5-4. After infielders Angel Aguilar and Brandon Wagner each reached on a double and walk, respectively, shortstop Diego Castillo drilled a base hit up the middle to drive in Aguilar, making it 4-2. The Lexington bullpen would walk the next two batters to push across another run before Rutherford’s hit. Donny Sands made it a more comfortable 6-4 lead with his first hit of the year to cap off the big frame.
Lexington (1-2) took control of the ballgame early when Khalil Lee walked to lead off the game and came around to score on a bloop single by DH Chris Devito, making it 1-0 Lexington.
Charleston (2-1) starter Jio Orozco settled in after the early blemish, going four strong innings with six strikeouts and just the one earned run allowed with his former Salpointe Catholic High School teammate, Donny Sands, calling the game from behind the plate.
The Legends got the bullpen, adding runs off Phillip Diehl (1-0, 9.00) in the fifth and sixth, including a two-run double smashed by Angelo Castellano off the scoreboard in left that gave Lexington their biggest advantage of the night, 4-1.
Anyelo Gomez was electric out the bullpen for the RiverDogs. The Dominican righty punched out five batters in two innings, and struck out the side in the ninth to pick up his first save.
After recording the game-winning hit, Rutherford is now 5-for-11 (.455), recording at least a hit in each of his three games as a RiverDog.
Righty Julio Pinto (0-1, 54.00) took the loss for the Legends, allowing four runs while recording two outs in the seventh.
The RiverDogs hosted the first Saturdays Live at The Joe presented by NASH FM and Fox 24, bringing fans the first Helicopter Ball Drop following the night’s contest against Lexington. The RiverDogs gave away a multitude of prizes throughout the night, but no one was a $2,000 winner, meaning that the pot will grow to $4,000 for the first Saturday home game in May. Fans also had the opportunity to meet select RiverDogs players as part of pregame autographs on the concourse.
The RiverDogs wrap up the series with the Legends on Sunday evening on the first Holy City Sunday of the season at The Joe. RHP Brian Keller will toe the rubber for Charleston against RHP Ofreidy Gomez on the mound for Lexington with both starters making their 2017 debuts. The first pitch is set for 5:05pm. It’s an MUSC Health Family Sunday in the Holy City that includes free parking and benefits for members of the MUSC Health Kid’s club including eating free and running the bases postgame.
RiverDogs tickets, including options for the all-new Riley Park Club, are now available and can be secured by contacting the box office at (843) 577-DOGS (3647) or online at www.riverdogs.com. Those that can’t make it to the park can follow every pitch of the RiverDogs season on WTMA 1250 AM in the tri-county area or by streaming online at riverdogs.com and the TuneIn Radio App by searching “RiverDogs.”