CHARLESTON, SC – The Charleston RiverDogs used three home runs to blast past West Virginia, 4-3, on a Friday night in front of a sellout crowd of 6,038 at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park.
Jeff Hendrix led the game off for the Charleston RiverDogs (19-8) with a 1-0 fastball that he laced over the left field wall for his first home run of the season. Hoy Jun Park followed with a single to right field, and reached second on a stolen base. Gittens then came up and promptly cranked a two run home run one-handed over the left field wall to give the RiverDogs a three run lead.
Charleston struck again in the bottom of the fourth as Jhalan Jackson demolished his second home run of the season to dead center field over the batter’s eye, giving the RiverDogs a 4-0 lead.
The RiverDogs chased West Virginia (16-11) starter, J.T. Brubaker (2-2) for four runs on four hits. The righty lasted six innings as he issued three walks and struck out four.
Christian Morris (1-0) toed the rubber for the RiverDogs, getting his first win after tossing five innings of three-hit baseball, giving up no runs with a walk and three strikeouts.
West Virginia collected a run in the sixth and made things interesting in the eighth after collecting back-to-back hits off of Jose Mesa to put runners at second and third. RiverDogs closer Andrew Schwaab entered the ballgame and promptly fired a pitch well wide to the backstop. West Virginia left fielder Tito Polo broke towards home, but was tagged out at the plate by Schwaab as the ball bounded back to home with the right-hander covering the plate on the play. Angel Aguilar made a spectacular spinning throw on a short hop off the bat of Ke’Bryan Hayes for the second out of the inning on the next play, but a run scored on the ground out to make it 4-2.
In the ninth, the first two runners would reach on an error and a walk, but Schwaab would work around the jam to record his fifth save of the season after giving up an unearned run with one hit, a walk, and a strikeout.
The Charleston RiverDogs started the weekend off with a bang with three homeruns and also lit up the Ashley River with an astounding fireworks display provided by Home Telecom. They also celebrated the 50th birthday of Charleston music icon, Darius Rucker.
The RiverDogs will be back Saturday night for game one of four against the reigning South Atlantic League Champion Hickory Crawdads. Charleston will roll RHP Simon De la Rosa (1-1, 6.92) out on the mound against Hickory’s LHP Wes Benjamin (1-1, 3.60). First pitch is set for 6:05pm. As part of “Saturday’s Live at the Joe,” the RiverDogs bring in another exciting postgame show, this week featuring Micro Championship Wrestling.
Ticket information for the RiverDogs homestand 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.