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Florial could prove to be a vital pinch runner in late-game situations in the ELCS. (Martin Griff)

RiverDogs Drop Series Opener To Lakewood

CHARLESTON — The Charleston RiverDogs dropped the series opener against the Lakewood BlueClaws by the score of 5-2 Saturday at Joe Riley Park. Adonis Medina shut down the Dogs to improve to 4-6 on the season while Rony Garcia took the loss to fall to 0-1.

Garcia found trouble in the first when Daniel Brito lined a double to the right-center field gap to lead off the game. Garcia issued a walk to Arquimedes Gamboa to place runners at first and second. After Mickey Moniak flew out to third base, Darick Hall hit a hard ground ball that Dogs’ second baseman Diego Castillo could not handle for an error that brought home Brito for the first run of the game. On the same play, Gamboa advanced to third and would score the second Claws’ run on an RBI ground out to second from Henri Lartigue. Garcia would get Edgar Cabral to ground out to end the inning.

The Claws would strike again in the third against Garcia for two more runs. Garcia walked Brito to start the inning. After Gamboa flew out to third, Jesus Alastre, who entered the game in the second for the Claws in place of Moniak, hit a ball up the middle that was knocked down by second baseman Diego Castillo that resulted in an infield single. Hall then doubled down the right field line to plate Brito for a 3-0 lead. Lartigue then hit a sac-fly to score Alastre to make it 4-0.

“I didn’t think (Garcia) pitched real bad. I thought he pitched really well. We made an error there in the first inning that they didn’t score an error that scored a run. But he gave us almost seven innings, three runs. We just didn’t swing the bats well,” RiverDogs manager Patrick Osborn said.

The RiverDogs would struggle against Medina who went seven innings allowing six hits and just one earned run. Estevan Florial did go 3-for-4 and Isiah Gilliam went 2-for-4 with an RBI for Charleston.

The Dogs only run against Medina would come on an infield single in the bottom of the fourth from Isiah Gilliam who beat out a throw from first baseman Hall to Medina covering. Donny Sands, who doubled and advanced to third on a wild pitch, scored on that play to make it 4-1.

The teams would exchange runs in the eighth. Will Hibbs picked up his 12th save on the season pitching a scoreless ninth for the BlueClaws.

“These guys have really, really good pitching, probably the best in the league, so I knew it was going to be a challenge coming into tonight and the rest of the three games and we just need to find a way to keep the games close and hopefully get some big hits,” Osborn said.

The Dogs fall to 53-45 on the season overall and 19-9 in the second half. Lakewood’s record now stands at 53-46, 13-16 on the second half after the victory.

The two teams continue their four game series Sunday afternoon at 5:05 p.m. at Joe Riley Park.

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