The Charleston RiverDogs engineered a 4-3 come from behind victory against the Asheville Tourists in the first game of a four game series at Joe Riley Park in Charleston Thursday night.
Asheville scored all three of their runs off Charelston starter Jio Orozco. In the first inning, Vince Fernandez singled in Jose Gomez with a line drive to right field. Gomez hit a line drive home run to left field in the top of the third to increase the Tourist lead to 2-0. Colton Welker built the Asheville lead to 3-0 in the top of the fifth with a sac fly to left field that scored Gomez.
“He settled down. Early, I thought he just was trying to do too much,” RiverDogs manager Pat Osborn said. “He’s a young kid who hasn’t pitched in front of big crowds, under the lights very often. I think early on he was trying to do too much, overthrow, and he settled down and kept us in the game.”
The RiverDogs clawed back to score in the sixth and seventh to bring them to within 3-2. In the sixth, Angel Aguilar singled to start off the inning and then was brought in by Oswaldo Cabrera‘s single for the first run. In the bottom of the seventh, Hoy Park drove in Isiah Gilliam from third with an infield single shortstop Gomez could not make a play on.
In the ninth facing Asheville closer Kenny Oakley (2-1, 1.42 ERA), Leonardo Molina hit a hard grounder to short that Gomez could not handle, resulting in an error. Isiah Gilliam followed with a walk, setting the stage for Carlos Vidal. Vidal ripped a line drive over the head of centerfielder Manny Melendez that scored Molina with the third and tying run and Gilliam with the fourth and winning, walk-off run.
“Baseball’s funny. You can kind of sense it’s gonna happen and the momentum starts to build. They miss some pitches on their end and there you go. Carlos gets a fastball and he drives it over the centerfielder’s head and wins the game. It never gets old. These types of wins are exciting for the kids, exciting for us, exciting for the fans. It’s a great way to win a game,” Osborn said.
“They’ve kind of been a savior for us. Our starting pitching is starting to get us deeper into games, not as deep as we’d like. But they’ve really saved our tails a number of times,” Osborn said of his bullpen.
Alejandro Requena started the game for Asheville and pitched six strong innings, allowing six hits, one run, which was unearned, while striking out three.