Recently named All-Star Vargas solid as Cesar Diaz racks up three hits from leadoff spot
ROME, GA – In a pitcher’s duel that rolled into extra innings, both the Charleston RiverDogs and the Rome Braves had their chances with runners on, but the Braves would capitalize first and salvage the final game of the series with a 3-2 walk off win over Charleston on Wednesday afternoon at State Mutual Stadium.
The RiverDogs (34-23) had their best chance to break open the 2-2 tie in the top of the 11th. Angel Aguilar singled to left to lead off the inning, but RiverDogs outfielder Nathan Mikolas botched a bunt attempt, rolling one back to the pitcher that nearly turned into a double play with the Braves able to retire the lead runner on the play. With two outs, Alexander Palma collected his fourth hit of the ballgame to put runners at second and third, but Charleston catcher Eduardo Navas would strike out to end the threat.
In the bottom half of the 11th, Jonathan Morales singled to left and advanced to second on a passed ball before Justin Ellison roped the winning hit to the left field wall as the Braves (23-35) walked off, 3-2.
Charleston took the early lead in the ballgame, 2-0, after three were complete. In the second, Gosuke Katoh drew a two out walk before Palma crushed a double over the head of Rome left fielder Leudys Baez. In the third, Cesar Diaz singled to right to lead off the frame. Diaz would advance on a wild pitch by Rome starter Mike Soroka. With two outs, Connor Spencer hit a soft liner to left that popped in and out of the glove for an error on Baez that allowed Diaz to score, making it 2-0.
In the fifth, Rome found an answer for RiverDogs starter Daris Vargas, as first baseman Carlos Castro clubbed a solo home run to left field, his third of the year, to cut the lead in half. Vargas hit the next batter he faced, Baez, and would give up a two out single to second baseman Luke Dykstra that evened the ballgame at 2-2.
The two hits in the fifth were half of the total allowed in the ballgame by Vargas, who finished allowing the two earned runs over six innings of work while striking out four, walking two, and hitting a pair of batters.
With the loss, the RiverDogs’ magic number remains at nine with Greenville still yet to play tonight.
The RiverDogs will kick off an eight-game, weeklong homestand at The Joe starting on Thursday night at 7:05pm against the Asheville Tourists. The RiverDogs will send RHP Christian Morris (3-1, 2.62) to face LHP Jack Wynkoop (6-2, 3.42). It’s a Budweiser Thirsty Thursday at The Joe featuring $1 draft beers and Charleston native DJ Natty Heavy spinning tunes all night long in the Ashley View Pub.
Ticket information for the RiverDogs homestand and any of the remaining home games can be secured by contacting the box office at (843) 577-DOGS (3647) or online at www.riverdogs.com. Those that can’t make it to the park can follow every pitch of the RiverDogs season on WTMA 1250 AM and streaming online at riverdogs.com. Listen on WTMA 1250 AM in the tri-county area.