The Charleston RiverDogs squandered a late two run lead to lose in ten innings 6-5 to the Columbia Fireflies Wednesday night at Joe Riley Park.
As has been the case in the first two games of the series, the RiverDogs took an early lead against the Firelfies. Wilkerman Garcia drew a walk against starter Marcel Renteria to start off the first inning. Oswaldo Cabrera followed that with a single to right to put Garcia at second for Steven Sensley. After Cabrera was thrown out trying to advance on a ball in the dirt, Sensley lifted a sacrifice fly to left field that scored Garcia for a 1-0 Dogs lead.
Columbia would waste no time tying the game in the top of the second when Quinn Brodey started things off with a triple to the left-center field gap off Dogs starter Dalton Lehnen. Lehnen would get Jeremy Vasquez to strike out on a pitch in the dirt, but first baseman Chris Hess could not handle the throw from catcher Jason Lopez. The ball went off Hess’ glove behind first base allowing Brodey to score and tie the game at one.
Charleston came back in the bottom of the second to regain the lead. Pablo Olivares drilled a double to the left-center field gap and would be chased home with a single up the middle to put the score at 2-1.
The teams would trade runs once again in the fourth. Jeremy Vazquez ripped an opposite field home run to left field to tie the game off of Lehnen at 2-2. The RiverDogs scored their run when Leonardo Molina singled to left with one out and Olivares was hit by a pitch. Lopez would plate Molina with a single to left field to make it 3-2. David Metzgar singled up the middle to load the bases, but the Dogs could not take advantage of the threat. Ricardo Ferreira would strike out and Garcia would fly out in foul territory toward the Columbia dugout to Flies third baseman Rigoberto Terrazas to end the inning.
Columbia would bring in Darwin Ramos in the seventh to relieve Renteria and the Dogs took advantage. Orlando Cabrera lined a double down the first base line for a stand up double to begin the inning. Sensley would drive in his second run of the game with a line drive single to left-center field to score Cabrera and put the Dogs lead at 4-2.
The Fireflies would once again answer back to tie the game in the top of the eighth when Blake Tiberi singled off Kyle Zurak (BS, 1) to start the inning. After getting Winaker to ground out to a fielder’s choice ground out to third, Zurak walked Vazquez to put runners at first and second. Zurak would uncork a wild pitch to advance the runners to second and third. Brodey would drive both runners in with a double into the right field corner to tie it at four.
The two teams would trade zeroes in the ninth to send the game into extra innings.
In the top of the tenth, the Fireflies would grab the lead off Dogs reliever Luis Cedeno. With Tiberi starting the inning at second, Winaker grounded out to short to advance Tiberi to third. Vazquez battled with Cedeno (L, 0-1), fouling off many pitches, before drilling a triple to right-center fielder to bring home Tiberi and give the Flies a 5-4 lead. Greg Weissert was summoned in from the Dogs bullpen to face and strike out Brodey. Weissert would then get Terrazas to ground to short stop Orlando Cabrera who threw high to first pulling Hess off the bag for an error to allow Terrazas to reach and Vazquez to score and make it 6-4.
In the bottom of the tenth, the Dogs would not go quietly. With Molina starting the inning at second, Flies reliever Trey Cobb plunked Olivares with a pitch to put runners at first and second. Jason Lopez then drilled a line drive to left to bring home Molina and bring the Dogs within 6-5. Cobb would then plunk his second batter of the inning putting Metzgar at first. He would retire Ferreira with a called strike three. Garcia then hit a high fly ball to short right field that Raphael Gladu caught holding the runners in place. Cabrera would then fly out to center field to end the threat and the game.
Aaron Ford (W, 1-0) would pick up the win in relief for the Flies pitching two scoreless innings and allowing just one hit. Cobb earned his third save of the year by holding off the RiverDogs threat in the tenth.
Vazquez would end up going 2-for-4 with two runs batted in and scoring three runs and Brodey ended up 2-for-5 with two runs batted in for the Flies.
Sensley would end up going 2-for-3 with two runs batted in while Lopez went 3-for-5 with two runs batted in for Charleston.
With the loss, the Dogs drop to 9-11 on the season while Columbia improves to 12-8 on the season. The two teams conclude their four game set Thursday with a 7:05 start at Riley Park.