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Feature Sized – Charleston RiverDogs starting pitcher Brian Keller works against the Lakewood BlueClaws at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park in Charleston, SC on Thursday, May 4, 2017. (Martin Griff)

RiverDogs Fall to GreenJackets, 9-4

The Augusta Greenjackets defeated the Charleston RiverDogs 9-4 behind a six run fifth inning Thursday night at Joe Riley Park.

It looked as if it’d be an old fashioned pitcher’s duel as the game was scoreless through four innings. That would change in the top of the fifth when RiverDogs starter Brian Keller (L, 3-3, 4.54 ERA) walked Ryan Kirby after getting Jacob Heyward on a groundout to short. Manuel Geraldo followed with an infield single that looked destined to start a 6-4-3 double play, but took a bad hop that Diego Castillo had no chance to field and went into center field. Will Albertson then singled to shallow right field loading the bases. Brandon Van Horn then doubled over the head of Isiah Gilliam bouncing over the wall scoring Kirby and Geraldo to make it 2-0 Augusta. Keller then plunked Ashford Fulmer to re-load the bases. After getting Christian Paulino to strike out for the second out, Donny Sands was unable to handle a Keller pitch with Kelvin Beltre to score Albertson to make it 3-0. Beltre then doubled over the head of Gilliam in right field to expand the lead to 5-0. The final run of the inning came when Keller threw a wild pitch to advance Beltre to third and a passed ball by Sands scored the final run of the inning to make it 6-0.

“It’s funny when you look back. That all got started with a ground ball double play that took a bad hop and almost killed Diego Castillo. If that ball doesn’t take a bad hop, we’re out of that inning, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. We just weren’t able to stop the bleeding there. They were able to expand and that inning got away from us,” RiverDogs manager Pat Osborn said.

The Dogs scored their first run in the bottom of the fifth. Diego Castillo singled up the middle with one out. After Ben Ruta grounded out to second, Estevan Florial walked. Angel Aguilar singled to left field and left fielder Heyward fired a ball wide of third base allowing Castillo to score making it 6-1 Jackets.

Augusta would tack on two runs in the seventh when Fulmer doubled in Van Horn and Beltre doubled in Fulmer with his third run batted in of the game to make it 8-1. Not to be outdone, Van Horn would drive in his third run of the game in the eighth with a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Kirby to make it 9-1 Jackets.

The RiverDogs fought back in the ninth. Cesar Yanez came into pitch for Augusta and was wild. He walked the bases loaded. After loading the bases, Nolan Riggs relieved Yanez and threw a wild pitch to Ruta that scored Gilliam. Ruta then drove in two runs with a single down the left field line that scored Wagner and Castillo to make it 9-4. That’s as close as Charleston would get.

“We made it interesting there late and tomorrow is another day,” Osborn said.

Augusta starter Garrett Williams (W, 1-0, 0.00 ERA) pitched five innings allowing five hits and one run, which was unearned.

The RiverDogs continue the homestand Friday night at 7:05 PM against the Augusta Greenjackets in game two of their four game series at Joe Riley Park. The RiverDogs fall to 19-21 on the season while the Greenjackets improve to 13-25.

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