The Charleston RiverDogs beat the Rome Braves Sunday night 5-4 to split the the four game series at The Joe.
Charleston staked themselves out to an early lead when short stop Abi Avelino scored on a passed ball after rounding the bases on a wild pitch and a groundout. In the second inning the RiverDogs went up 2-0 after consecutive doubles from Avelino and Tyler Wade.
For the RiverDogs starter Luis Niebla had a good start but couldn’t stay in long enough to be eligible for the win. Niebla went four and a third innings allowing two runs, one earned on three hits and struck out one batter. Niebla would leave with the RiverDogs up 3-1 but with runners on second and third. A run would score on an infield single but reliever Angel Rincon would work out of the threat and the RiverDogs would still lead 3-2 after five.
In the bottom of the sixth inning the hot hitting center fielder Brandon Thomas jacked a two run home run to right field to make it a 5-2 game in favor of Charleston. Thomas went 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored to go with the two run homer.
After the bullpen gave up two solo home runs to the Braves in the top of the seventh and eighth innings to make the RiverDogs lead 5-4, Stefan Lopez came on in the ninth to try and lock down the win. With one out Lopez walked Braves catcher Carlos Sanchez and a wild pitch moved him into scoring position. A sac fly moved Sanchez to third with two outs but Lopez got Braves second baseman Ross Wilson to get caught looking and record the strike out to end the game and pick up his fifth save stranding the runner 90 feet from tying the game.
The RiverDogs (63-64) are off on Monday but head out to face the Greenville Drive to open a six game road trip. Rookie Davis will get the call to start and try to get the RiverDogs to .500 and keep them alive in the playoff race.