The Charleston RiverDogs broke out the lumber in a 13-2 rout of the Columbia Fireflies Saturday night at Joe Riley Park. Charleston had a balanced attack belting out 16 hits with everyone in the lineup getting at least one hit and five players collecting at least two hits. Freicer Perez picked up the win by going six innings allowing two runs on six hits to improve his record 5-3 on the season.
The Fireflies jumped out to the lead in the top of the second inning off Perez. Dash Winningham led the inning off with a line drive to right fielder Isiah Gilliam who dove for the ball and came up short. The ball bounced by Gilliam allowing Winningham to get to third for a triple. Jay Jabs would ground out to second to score Winningham and give Columbia a 1-0 lead.
The RiverDogs would tie it in the bottom of the second off Fireflies starter Blake Taylor (L, 1-8) when Gilliam went the opposite way to single through the right side of the infield. Donny Sands would fly out to the second baseman, but Isiah Gilliam would steal second during Sands’ at-bat. Mandy Alvarez hit a bouncing single up the middle to score Gilliam and tie the game at one.
The RiverDogs would score four runs in the fourth and six runs in the fifth to put the game out of reach. In the third, Chris Hess flared a single to right field for a single to lead off the inning. Ben Ruta followed with a walk and Diego Castillo then singled to right field to load the bases. Blake Rutherford ripped a single to right field to bring home Hess and Ruta to give the RiverDogs their first lead at 3-1. Isiah Gilliam hit a sacrifice fly to left field that Castillo scored on to extend the lead to 4-1. Donny Sands singled to move Rutherford to third and Alvarez would ground out to second base to score Rutherford for a 5-1 Dogs advantage.
The Flies would get a run back in the top of the fourth off of Ali Sanchez’s RBI single to left field that scored Jay Jabs and put the score at 5-2.
In the bottom of the fourth, Carlos Vidal would line a ball back up the middle that struck the pitcher Taylor and beat the throw from Taylor for a single to lead things off. Taylor would issue a walk to Hess and Ben Ruta would single up the middle to load the bases. Castillo then kept a ball fair down the third base line that bounced into the bullpen for a double that scored Vidal and Hess and a 7-2 lead. Rutherford drove in his third run of the game with an RBI ground out to the shortstop that plated Ruta to make it 8-2. Taylor would plunk Gilliam with a breaking ball that didn’t break to bring up Donny Sands. Sands singled to left to bring Castillo into score and extend the lead to 9-2. Alvarez walked to load the bases one again and Wagner lined a single into right center field to score Gilliam and Sands and put the score at 11-2.
The Dogs scored in the bottom of the seventh when Hess tripled in Alvarez to make it 12-2. Donny Sands drove in Blake Rutherford with a double into the left field corner to make it 13-2 in the eighth for the final run of the game.
Ruta, Castillo, Rutherford, Alvarez, Hess and Wagner each had two hits while Sands collected three hits for Charleston. Those seven players drove in 11 of the 13 runs for the RiverDogs.
“We’re on a roll. It kind of started against these guys before the All Star break and we’ve been able to extend it to today. It’s fun to watch, I’ll tell you that. The guys are having fun and everything’s clicking right now,” Osborn said.
Perez ended up giving up six hits while striking out six batters in six innings pitched allowing two runs, both earned. “He continues to be dominate. I saw the stats today and over the course of his last eight starts, he has an ERA in the ones. A lot like what we saw tonight, he’s been really, really good,” RiverDogs manager Patrick Osborn said of Perez.
David Sosebee came into the game in the seventh and pitched two innings not allowing a run, giving up just one hit while striking out three. Luis Cedeno closed things out in the ninth not allowing a hit and striking out two of the three batters he faced.
The RiverDogs improve to 10-5 on the second half, 45-41 overall. The Firelflies drop to 6-10 in the second half, 43-38 overall.
The two teams will play again Sunday evening at Joe Riley Park at 5:05 PM in the third game of their four game series.