Estrada and Holder each extend their hitting streaks as the top two in the order produce for Charleston
CHARLESTON, SC – A normally dominant Charleston RiverDogs pitching staff came out flat and was taken advantage of early in an 8-4 defeat at the hands of the Columbia Fireflies in front of 5,082 on Saturday night at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park.
The top of the lineup looked sharp for Charleston as Thairo Estrada and Kyle Holder each went 2-5 from the one and two spots in the batting order, extending their hitting streaks to seven and ten games, respectively, in the loss.
Columbia tagged RiverDogs righty Yefrey Ramirez (1-1) for two early runs in the first, and the RiverDogs were caught playing catch up out of the gates. Fireflies second baseman Vinny Siena stroked a single to left to kick off a streak of four straight batters reaching with one out. J.C. Rodriguez doubled to put runners at second and third before a wild pitch by Ramirez allowed Siena to score and an error by Charleston third baseman Angel Aguilar made it 2-0 after a half inning was complete.
In the third, cleanup hitter Pat Mazieka got the Fireflies going with a leadoff single to left before the umpiring crew would gift Columbia another pair of runs. With two outs, Ivan Wilson hit a deep fly ball that soared wide of the left field foul pole, but it was ruled a home run, making it 2-0 Columbia.
An RBI knock by J.C. Rodriguez would chase Ramirez from the ballgame with two outs in the fourth. A sac fly with the bases loaded by Columbia shortstop Milton Ramos off of righty reliever Hobie Harris pushed the score to 6-0.
The RiverDogs got on the board in the fourth on an RBI double by Jhalan Jackson that scored Park from first after the Seoul, South Korea native reached on a fielder’s choice.
The RiverDogs continued to claw their way back in the fifth, getting three straight one out singles, including a base hit to left by Estrada that made it 6-2.
Columbia would put some distance on Charleston in the sixth with a pair of RBI doubles, one by Rodriguez, and the other by Ramos who drove in his second run of the ballgame to make it 8-2.
Charleston climbed back with a pair of runs in the eighth to make it a four-run ballgame heading into the ninth inning, but Columbia reliever Johnny Magliozzi would strand a pair of baserunners after inducing an inning ending double play on a ground ball off the bat of Jackson.
Ramirez took his first loss of the season, exiting after 2.1 innings and allowing six runs, all earned, on nine hits with three walks and a pair of strikeouts. A Charleston pitching staff that led the South Atlantic League in ERA coming into the contest yielded a season-high 15 hits, producing Columbia’s eight runs.
The Charleston RiverDogs remain in first-place in the Southern Division of the South Atlantic League, with a 5.5 game cushion over Columbia.
The Charleston RiverDogs gave fans their shot at the plate in postgame fan batting practice as part of “Saturdays Live at The Joe.” Nobody hit a home run, but fans sprayed line drives all over the outfield as part of the night’s postgame festivities.
The RiverDogs will be back Sunday evening for the finale of the four-game series against the Columbia Fireflies at 5:05pm. The RiverDogs will send RHP Daris Vargas (3-0, 2.05) as the Fireflies roll out RHP Chase Ingram (3-2, 3.00). Bring your pup out to the ballpark and sample a variety of craft beers at the dog-friendly “Bark for Your Brew” craft beer tasting at The Joe starting at 2pm prior to the night’s finale against Columbia. Dogs are welcome to stay for the game, and even bring their humans with them, as part of a canine friendly Holy City Sunday.
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.