COLUMBIA, S.C.— The Charleston RiverDogs outhit Columbia 14-11 across 14 innings, but the Fireflies swept the evening’s doubleheader to claim their seventh consecutive victory on Saturday night at Spirit Communications Park.
Charleston has now outhit Columbia in three straight games, dropping each as part of a four-game losing streak to match a season-long slide.
After falling behind 5-0 in game one, recently named All-Star centerfielder Estevan Florial single-handedly willed the RiverDogs back into the game, slugging a towering solo shot to right for his team-leading eighth of the season that put Charleston on the board. The Dominican Republic native added two more in the seventh with a two out single. With the bases loaded and the tying run standing at second, Brandon Wagner struck out looking to cut the comeback short. Florial finished 3-for-4 with all three of the RiverDogs’ RBI.
Jio Orozco took a no-hitter into the fourth inning after allowing just one baserunner on a hit by pitch until the Fireflies (34-25) exploded for five runs. Andres Gimenez broke up the no-no with a single up the middle before first baseman Dash Winningham launched a two-run shot to right, his tenth of the year, to make it 2-0 Columbia. A two out error by shortstop Hoy Park extended the inning and allowed a run to score and Gimenez laid down a squeeze bunt with the bases full to stretch the lead to 5-0 after Columbia had sent 11 men to the plate.
Fireflies righty Joseph Zanghi walked four in the seventh before being lifted for lefty Henry Taylor who caught Wagner looking to end game one.
Columbia struck first again in game two, jumping on righty Austin DeCarr making his South Atlantic League debut. After giving up a single to former Gamecock Gene Cone and hitting Gimenez, Michel Paez bounced a one-hopper to third that Angel Aguilar fired home to cut down a run. Two batters later, Luis Carpio made it a moot point with an RBI single into right to put Columbia out to a 1-0 lead.
The RiverDogs took their first lead of the day in the fourth when shortstop Oswaldo Cabrera drove a two-run double in to left scoring Isiah Gilliam and Mandy Alvarez who began the inning with consecutive base hits.
Columbia tied the second game in the fourth when DeCarr’s third walk scored on a two out single by Cone, pulling the Fireflies even at two apiece.
DeCarr did not factor in the decision, allowing two runs, both earned, on three hits with four walks, two hit batters, and four strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings.
The Fireflies took the lead for good in the sixth to put themselves in position to sweep. Tim Tebow doubled down the left field line and was replaced by a pinch runner, Desmond Lindsay. First baseman Reed Gamache tapped a grounder back to reliever Raynel Espinal (1-1, 1.26) who airmailed a throw over the head of Alvarez at first to allow Lindsay to score. Paez made it 4-2 Columbia on an RBI groundout to the shortstop.
The RiverDogs continue the series in Columbia on Sunday afternoon, taking on the Fireflies for game four starting at 2:05pm. The RiverDogs will send righty Adonis Rosa (1-1, 4.08) to toe the rubber opposed by Columbia’s right-hander Gabriel Llanes (3-3, 3.05). Fans can tune into the game on WTMA 1250 AM “The Big Talker,” and online streaming via the TuneIn Radio app under the “Charleston RiverDogs” station starting at 5.
RiverDogs tickets, including options for the all-new Riley Park Club, are now available and 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 in the tri-county area or by streaming online at riverdogs.com and the TuneIn Radio App by searching “RiverDogs.”