Gates' walk-off single wins it for Charleston

CHARLESTON, SC - Aaron Gates hit an RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Charleston RiverDogs a walk-off 2-1 victory over the Hickory Crawdads Saturday night in South Atlantic League play at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park in front of 3,217 fans.

The RiverDogs are back to the .500 mark in the second half with the win as they now sit at 5-5, and they improve 44-34 on the season. They are now in fourth place in the Southern Division second half standings. The Crawdads now move to 45-35 on the season and 6-4 in the second half. They are in second place of the Northern Division standings.

Offensively, it was a slow night for both clubs as the pitchers for each team dominated. In two previous games against the RiverDogs, Hickory starting pitcher C.J. Edwards had allowed just two runs on five hits while recording 16 strikeouts. He was very good again Saturday in five innings of work with just one run allowed on five hits. He also struck out six, but was not a factor in the decision.

RiverDogs starting pitcher Cesar Vargas, who in 7.1 innings of work against the Crawdads this season had given up seven runs on seven hits, was on top of his game Saturday night. His final line was six innings, one run, four hits, one walk, and five strikeouts. He too did not factor in the decision.

Charleston struck for the first run of the game in the bottom of the fifth inning. After tripling down the right field line, Jake Cave scored on a Cito Culver one-out double.

The Crawdads answered with a run of their own in the top of the sixth. Nick Vickerson doubled with one out to left field and later scored on a Ronald Guzman double off the right field wall.

The game remained tied until the bottom of the ninth when the RiverDogs walked off in dramatic fashion. With runners on first and second and two outs, Aaron Gates ripped a single off the right field wall to score Danny Oh, who was hit by a pitch earlier in the inning, and gave Charleston the win.

Joe Burns (2-2) entered the game for Hickory in the ninth with the game tied at one. He was tagged with the loss. In 0.2 innings of work he allowed one run on one hit.

Ben Paullus (4-2) came on to pitch in the eighth inning and earned the win for the RiverDogs. In those two innings he surrendered no hits and recorded two strikeouts.

BALLPARK FUN: The RiverDogs hosted the 14th{}annual Kindness Beats Blindness Auction, and raised thousands of dollars for the MUSC Storm Eye Institute and their ongoing fight to prevent the loss of vision.