CHARLESTON, SC – A furious late innings rally propelled the Charleston RiverDogs past the Kannapolis Intimidators for a 6-4 victory in the Dogs home opener Thursday night at Joe Riley Park.
Dogs starter Rony Gracia got two quick outs in the first, but then ran into major trouble. Craig Dedelow and Tate Blackman connected for a pair of two-run home runs to give Kannapolis an early 4-0 lead.
The RiverDogs chipped back with one run in the bottom of the second off Kannapolis starter Blake Battenfield when Leonardo Molina ripped a two-out hustle triple to the left-center field gap. Frederick Cuevas chased him home with a single up the middle to make it 4-1 Intimidators.
The score would remain there due to the bounce back work from Garcia and reliever Brian Trieglaff (1-0, 0.00 ERA) until the bottom of the seventh. Trieglaff relieved Garcia in the sixth and pitched three scoreless innings allowing three hits and striking out four batters.
The RiverDogs would tie the score in the seventh off reliever Yosmer Solorzano. After he recorded two outs, Solorzano walked Leonardo Molina. Frederick Cuevas laid down a perfect bunt on a pitch up in the strike zone for a single moving Molina to second. Eduardo Navas scorched a double to right scoring Cuevas, putting the score at 4-3 and placing Navas at third.
The Dogs would score the game winning runs in the bottom of the eighth off of reliever Kevin Escorcia. Escorcia (L, 0-1) would plunk Dalton Blaser with one out with a breaking ball. Chris Hess roped a ball into the left field corner to bring Blaser to third. Blaser would score when Escorcia uncorked a wild pitch to give the RiverDogs a 5-4 lead, their first of the night. On the play, Hess moved to third and would score on Molina’s line dive sacrifice fly to left to make it 6-4 Dogs.
Matt Wivinis would earn his third save by pitching a perfect ninth inning for the RiverDogs.
The RiverDogs improve to 4-4 and face Kannapolis (5-3) in the second game of a weekend series at Joe Rlley Park Friday night.