Charleston matches their largest margin of victory in blowout win over Rome
ROME, GA – Looking for an offensive boost after a frustrating homestand, the Charleston RiverDogs hit the ground running on their road trip, blasting away the Rome Braves, 13-4, to kick off a three game road stint on Monday night at State Mutual Stadium.
The RiverDogs cranked out a season-high 13 runs to match their largest margin of victory on the year. Chris Gittens went 2-for-3 with a career-high four RBIs while belting one of three Charleston homers in the ballgame.
Facing the Braves top pick from last year’s draft, the RiverDogs greeted Kolby Allard with a rude awakening in his Single A debut. After center fielder Jeff Hendrix drew a leadoff walk and shortstop Kyle Holder singled, Chris Gittens hammered a home run over the right field wall, his sixth of the season, to put the RiverDogs up 3-0 in the top of the first.
The Braves answered back with a long ball of their own in the bottom half as Rome center fielder Ray-Patrick Didder hit a solo shot to lead off the frame to tag RiverDogs starter Luis Cedeno for an early run, and cut the deficit to 3-1.
In the third, Hendrix drew his second walk of the ballgame and would be driven home by Gittens who doubled to the right center gap to reestablish the RiverDogs lead back to three at 4-1.
In the fourth, Gosuke Katoh singled to left before left fielder Cesar Diaz hit a line shot that cruised over the wall in left to push the lead to 6-1. It was the first hit of the season for Diaz in his third game with Charleston.
After giving up the homer and recording the final out, that would be all for the Braves first round pick who exited after four innings allowing six runs, all earned, on five hits while walking two and striking out three to pick up the loss.
Rome got a run back in both the fifth and sixth innings to make it a three run ballgame. Rome first baseman Carlos Castro tripled to lead off the fifth before being driven in on a ground out by Justin Ellison. In the sixth, Cedeno yielded three straight singles to start the frame including an RBI knock by second baseman Luke Dykstra that made it 6-3.
In the seventh, the RiverDogs would add two key insurance runs as they got to the Braves bullpen, all with two outs. After retiring the first two Charleston batters, Rome reliever Chad Sobotka walked four in a row, capped off by a free pass to Connor Spencer with the bases loaded that made it 7-3. Sobotka gave way for Grayson Jones who would spike a pitch in the dirt that bounced away from Rome catcher Lucas Herbert to make it 8-3 Charleston.
After Rome got a run back in the eighth, the RiverDogs would put the game to bed with a five run ninth and push the lead to 13-4. Eduardo Navas singled and Gittens drew a walk to start the onslaught. Connor Spencer singled to drive in Navas, and Audie Afenir followed suit with an RBI hit of his own. Infielder Angel Aguilar blasted a three-run shot to left to put an exclamation point on the big offensive frame that matched the most runs scored in a single inning by the RiverDogs this season.
Cedeno posted a quality start to pick up the win, logging six innings while allowing three runs on six hits with two strikeouts. Cody Carroll took it the rest of the way with three solid innings of relief with one run allowed on two hits and a pair of strikeouts.
The RiverDogs continue the three game road trip in Rome in game two against Rome on Tuesday night at State Mutual Stadium. The RiverDogs will send RHP Yefrey Ramirez (2-1, 3.50) to face RHP Touki Touissaint (1-5, 6.28), the second of three former first round picks the Braves will roll out in this series. The RiverDogs return to The Joe on Thursday for a seven-game homestand that runs from June 9-15.
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.