HAGERSTOWN, Md. — The Charleston RiverDogs rallied back to tie the game in the ninth after falling into an early three-run deficit, but the Hagerstown Suns walked off in the bottom of the frame to win 5-4 in the series opener Monday night at Municipal Stadium.
Charleston (13-24 second half, 47-60 overall) trailed 4-3 entering the top of the ninth, when Bo Thompson reached base on an error by the pitcher Andrew Lee. Vince Conde entered the game to pinch run. Two batters later, Collin Slaybaugh moved Conde into scoring position with a ground out to short.
Billy Fleming stepped in and ripped a hard ground ball down the first base line. The first baseman Matthew Page could not field it cleanly, and Conde came home to score from second on the infield single.
The Suns Jeff Gardner began the bottom of the ninth with a base hit for Hagerstown (17-20, 52-53) and advanced to second on an Andrew Stevenson ground out later in the inning. Osvaldo Abreu drove in the game-winning run with a two-out, walk-off single to center field.
Caleb Frare (4-2) gave up the walk-off base hit in the ninth and took the loss for Charleston. Lee (1-0) earned his first win with the Suns despite blowing the save and allowing the tying run to score with two outs in the top of the ninth.
Bryan Mejia tripled in Hagerstown’s first run with one out in the bottom of the second. Gardner followed with an RBI single to increase the Suns’ lead to 2-0. After a David Masters single and a wild pitch, Gardner scored the third run of the frame on Stevenson’s sacrifice fly to right.
Charleston responded with a run in each of the next two innings. Griff Gordon, who went 2-for-3 in the game, hit his first career home run over the wall in right field to get the RiverDogs on the board in the third. In the top of the fourth, Thompson drew a one-out walk and scored from first on an RBI double by Tejeda.
Mejia led off the bottom of the fourth with a double, advanced to third on a ground out, and scored two batters later on an RBI single by Stevenson.
In the top of the sixth, the RiverDogs cut Hagerstown’s lead down to one again. Jorge Mateo started the frame with a double and scored on Thompson’s one-out single to left.
BOX SCORE: http://atmilb.com/1eP9dqb
COMING UP: The RiverDogs continue their a three-game road series against Hagerstown Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. Charleston will send RHP Joey Maher (2-4, 2.46 ERA) to the mound against LHP Connor Bach (4-2, 3.39 ERA) for the Suns. You can listen to the action on “The Big Talker” 1250 WTMA, WTMA.com, and RiverDogs.com.