CHARLESTON, SC – After walk off wins on back-to-back nights, the Charleston RiverDogs didn’t have any late inning magic left in the tank as they were blanked 9-0 in a combined team no-hitter by the Columbia Fireflies.
The Fireflies again jumped on Charleston pitching early, tagging RiverDogs starter Josh Rogers (0-1) for three runs in the first inning on a home run to left center by David Thompson for the first longball in Columbia’s franchise history. Rogers finished the night with four runs allowed, three earned, on five hits, a walk, and four strikeouts.
Kevin Kaczmarski got the parade going by beating out an infield single to short with one out. The Fireflies second baseman Vinny Siena followed with a walk. After a flyout to left, David Thompson jumped on the fastball to deep left giving the Fireflies the three run advantage early.
Rogers did find his groove allowing just 2 hits through the next 3 innings, but was lifted giving way to Claudio Custodio, who made his first appearance of the season. Custodio lasted just an inning, giving up a run on two hits, a walk, and a wild pitch.
David Palladino toed the rubber for Charleston entering in the seventh and that was the only inning of work he would see. The 6’8” 235 pounder suffered control problems rendering two wild pitches, two walks, a hit-by-pitch, and two hits, leading to three Columbia runs to make it 8-0.
Columbia’s starter, Thomas McIlraith was dialed in from the start, facing only one over the minimum through the sixth.
In the top of the fifth a couple of miscues got the best of the RiverDogs. With one out, Kaczmarski stroked a single into right field, but Jhalan Jackson couldn’t quite get a handle of the ball, which allowed Kaczmarski to advance to second on the error. On the ensuing pitch, Charleston’s catcher Radley Haddad had one spit off of the mitt to the backstop, moving Kaczmarski to third on a passed ball. Siena then lifted one to right for a sacrifice fly, pushing the fourth run (unearned) across for the Fireflies, Kaczmarski’s second run scored of the game.
The Fireflies pushed their fifth run over home plate in the top of the sixth on fielder’s choice groundout to second by Milton Ramos.
Again Columbia would buzz home plate, this time for three runs in the seventh. Eight fireflies hitters came to bat in the inning, with three of them scoring on only two hits. Palladino couldn’t find his rhythm from the get go. Columbia got the inning going with a leadoff double to left off the bat of Kaczmarski, followed by a passed ball to put the runner on third, a walk issued to Siena, and a hit by pitch of Dash Winningham. After an RBI ground out to second from Thompson, a strike out of Jeff Diehl, and an RBI single from Joe Tuschak, Palladino issued the second walk of the inning before getting out of it with a fielder’s choice.
With an eight run lead heading into the ninth, Columbia scored its ninth run of the evening.
Willie Gabay, a right-handed pitcher out of Mahopac, NY, worked the final two frames, letting up no hits, but a run, three walks, and two strikeouts.
In the ninth Gabay walked the first three batters he faced, while throwing two wild pitches. Tuschak, with the bases loaded, grounded out into a shortstop-to-first double play, allowing Winningham to score from third.
McIlraith picks up his first win of the season (1-0, 0.00), while waking two and striking out six.
The Fireflies bullpen came through for the latter third of the game giving up no hits, no walks, and seven strikeouts, leading to Columbia’s first-ever combined no-hitter.
The Charleston faithful stuck around after the game to witness the incredible Human Cannonball, “David The Bullet” Smith, soar from centerfield all the way to home plate. That excitement was just a precursor to the incredible fireworks show the RiverDogs displayed on the banks of the Ashley River.
Upcoming Promotions at The Joe
The RiverDogs, the Class-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, continue their four-game series with the Fireflies in Game Four on Sunday at 5:05pm. The RiverDogs present the first Holy City Sunday as the RiverDogs will dawn their Holy City jerseys and caps for the first time in the 2016 season. The RiverDogs will roll out RHP Simon De la Rosa (NR, 0.00) while the Fireflies will send LHP Kevin Canelon (NR, 0.00). For those that can’t make it out to the ballpark, the game can be heard on WTMA 1250 AM and online at riverdogs.com. Ticket information may be secured by contact the box office at (843)577-DOGS (3647) or online at www.riverdogs.com.