The Charleston Riverdogs offense exploded in a blowout win against the Augusta GreenJackets by the score of 18-4 on Saturday. The Dogs collected a season high 20 hits on their way to a season high of 18 runs. They have taken two of the first three games in the four game weekend set at Joe Riley Park. It was the most runs and hits the RiverDogs have had in a game since May 29, 2012 against the Asheville Tourists in a road game at McCormick Field.
The offensive assault started in the first inning with the Dogs posting four runs. Estevan Florial started it off with a lead off single to center field off Jackets starter Caleb Baragar. Angel Aguilar followed with a single of his own to left field. Blake Rutherford followed with the Dogs third straight single scoring Florial for the first run of the game. Donny Sands grounded to second baseman Kelvin Beltre who threw wide of shortstop Brandon Van Horn. Aguilar scored on the play to make it 2-0 Dogs and the error put Sands at second and Rutherford at third. Isiah Gilliam singled to center chasing home both Rutherford and Sands to make it 4-0 Dogs.
Augusta came right back in the top of the second off Dogs starter Nick Green. The trouble started when Green plunked Skyler Ewing with a pitch. Frandy De La Rosa got a hit with a ball that looked destined to be a ground out when the ball hit the lip of the infield grass and stayed under the glove of second baseman Diego Castillo for a base hit. Ewing advanced to third on the play and would score on a scorching line drive off the bat of Jacob Heyward that drilled Nick Green in the back to put the score at 4-1. Green would stay in the game and walked the next batter Ryan Kirby to load the bases. Manuel Geraldo then grounded out to Castillo who went to second base for the out, but scored De La Rosa to make it 4-2. After Brandon Van Horn popped out to shortstop Oswaldo Cabrera, Cristian Paulino singled up the middle to bring home Heyward to bring the Jackets to within one run at 4-3. Sandro Fabian would tie it up at four with a single that Cabrera got a glove on but couldn’t come up with scoring Kirby. Green would leave the game after the second inning.
“(Green’s) okay. He’s fine. It’s obviously a precautionary move to get him out of the game. That thing swells up, gets sore, now his range of motion’s cut down. Maybe he compromises his delivery a little bit. Maybe he ends up injuring something else. He threw a ton of pitches that inning, he was getting hit. Take him out and let him get checked out. He should be good for his next start,” RiverDogs manager Patrick Osborn said after the game.
Raynel Espinal (W, 1-0, 1.42 ERA) came in to relieve Green in the third inning and held Augusta at bay. In six innings pitched, Espinal only allowed two hits while striking out eight Jackets to earn the win. “He’s been great ever since he showed up here. He’s been able to come in and give us length out of the bullpen and really dominate in every outing he’s pitched. I really like watching him throw the ball. He pounds the strike zone, he gets a lot of swings and misses. He’s done a tremendous job,” Osborn said.
In the bottom of the fourth, the RiverDogs broke the game wide open. It started off with Gilliam’s bouncing single through the hole in the left side of the infield off starter Baragar (L, 0-3, 4.28 ERA). After Gilliam advanced to second on a wild pitch, Castillo singled to center field advancing Gilliam to third. Ben Ruta singled to right field to bring home Gilliam and give the Dogs a 5-4 lead. After Cabrera walked, Carlos Vidal singled up the middle to plate Castillo and make it 6-4. After Vidal’s single, Florial walked with the bases loaded to score Ruta, and the Dogs were up 7-4. Raffi Vizcaino was then summoned out of the bullpen for the Jackets and Angel Aguilar hit a sacrifice fly to left field to make the score 8-4. On the play, Heyward threw the ball wide of the catcher and that advanced Vidal to third and Florial to second. Rutherford followed with another sacrifice fly to Heyward in left scoring Vidal making it 9-4. Donny Sands would bring home the sixth run of the inning with a single to right field that scored Florial and put the score at 10-4.
The Dogs followed that six run fourth inning with a four run fifth. Castillo started things off with a single to right followed with a walk for Ruta. Cabrera grounded out to second baseman Kelvin Beltre who went to second base to get Ruta while moving Castillo to third. Vidal singled to right field, Sandro Fabian charged the ball, but missed it. While the ball rolled behind him, Vidal rounded the bases and beat the throw home for three more RiverDogs runs and a 13-4 lead. Florial followed with a double down the right field line. Aguilar flew out to right and then Rutherford walked. Sands brought home Florial with a single to right and a 14-4 RiverDogs lead.
The RiverDogs weren’t quite done yet as they tacked on four more runs in the eighth. Castillo got a one out single to right field. After Ruta grounded out, Cabrera beat the throw from first baseman De La Rosa to the covering pitcher, Jeff Burke, to put runners at first and second. Vidal doubled to left field scoring Ruta to make it 15-4. Florial singled up the middle to score Cabrera and Vidal to make it 17-4. Aguilar hit a liner to center field that Cristian Paulino could not handle and ended up being an RBI triple scoring Florial and putting the score at what would be the eventual final of 18-4.
Estivan Florial went 3-for-5 scoring four runs and driving in three runs. Carlos Vidal went 3-for-5 driving in three runs while scoring three runs.
“I just try to put the ball in play. I’m going to keep working on it, just to do less and less and have more contact with the ball,” Florial said.
“If you’re on the winning side of it, you’re never as good as you think you are in these type of games. If you’re on the losing side of it, you’re never as bad as you think you are in these types of games. It happens every once in a while in the game of baseball. We could come out tomorrow and score one run. It’s just the way the game goes sometimes. You have these games where they get out of hand one way or another. It’s fun to watch for one night,” Osborn said.
With the win, the RiverDogs have reached .500 with a 21-21 record. Augusta falls to 13-27 on the season. The two teams tangle tomorrow evening at 5:05 PM in the finale of the series at Joe Riley Park.