CHARLESTON, SC - The Charleston RiverDogs rode a five run first inning to a 7-3 victory over the Rome Braves on Saturday in South Atlantic League action in front of 4,222 fans at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park.
With the win, the RiverDogs advance to 35-33 in the second half and 74-62 overall. The Braves improve to 36-32 in second half play and 72-65 overall with the defeat.
Dante Bichette, Jr. got the scoring started with an RBI single in the bottom of the first inning, and Daniel Aldrich later drove in a couple with a double of his own. Two costly errors gave Charleston two more runs to cap off the inning and put the RiverDogs in the lead 5-0 after one inning.
In the second, the Dogs added another run on Ericson Leonora's RBI double to push the lead to 6-0.
It stayed that way until the seventh thanks to an amazing performance by starting pitcher Luis Niebla in his final outing of the season.
Niebla allowed just three hits and walked nobody in six shutout innings to earn the victory and improve to 5-6. Lefty Tyler Webb tossed two innings of relief and gave up three runs on three hits and fanned two. James Pazos closed it out for Charleston with a perfect ninth inning.
Rafael Briceno made the start for Rome and got rocked to the tune of seven hits, six runs, four earned, and three walks. He got tagged with the loss to fall to 5-9.
The first seven batters in the Charleston lineup collected at least one hit. Greg Bird also walked two more times to push his SAL league leading total to 105 on the season.