CHARLESTON, SC – Jorge Mateo and Abiatal Avelino led an aggressive Charleston RiverDogs base-running attack Sunday evening, stealing a combined total of seven bases to lead the ‘Dogs to a 4-2 victory over the Lexington Legends at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park.
Starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery was dominant in his RiverDogs debut. The Sumter, S.C. native held the Legends scoreless in 5 2/3 innings of work and fanned nine Lexington hitters to pick up his first win of the 2015 season in front of 3,503 fans at The Joe.
Both teams got off to a slow start offensively, and the game remained scoreless until the bottom of the fifth inning. With an aggressive baserunning attack, the RiverDogs tallied a total of four stolen bases in the inning (two by Mateo, one by Avelino, and one by Brandon Thomas).
The Legends got on the board with a run of their own in the top of the sixth. Shortstop Humberto Arteaga crossed home on a groundout by left fielder Samir Duenez to make the score 3-1.
In the bottom of the seventh, the speedy ‘Dogs stole four more bases (two by Avelino and two by Mateo). Avelino scored his second run of the game on a wild pitch and increased Charleston’s lead to 4-1.
One defensive play highlighted the evening for Charleston. Thomas made a leaping catch up against the wall in left-center field to retire the side in the top of the eight. He received a standing ovation from the crowd as he ran back into the first base dugout with his RiverDogs teammates.
The RiverDogs bullpen had not allowed an earned run in the 2015 season, but the streak finally came to an end with two outs in the ninth inning. Second baseman Corey Toups hit an RBI single, scoring Carlos Garcia from first base. Charleston relief pitcher Joe Harvey got Arteaga to fly out to right field for the final out of the ballgame, earning himself a two-inning save in the 4-2 victory.
The eight stolen bases are three shy of the league record of 11, which was set on July 10, 1991 by the Macon Braves. With the victory, Charleston splits the opening series with Lexington and improves to 2-2 on the season. The Augusta GreenJackets come to the Lowcountry for a three-game series beginning Monday at 7:05 p.m.