CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - The Charleston RiverDogs held off a late Hickory Crawdads comeback and followed an eighth-inning rain delay by securing a 3-2 victory on Tuesday evening in front of 3,641 fans at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park in South Atlantic League action.
The RiverDogs climbed to 27-25 in the second half and 60-62 overall. The Crawdads fell back to 29-23 and 70-51, respectively. Charleston claimed a series victory with its second win of this three-game series.
In each of the first two innings, Charleston's defense turned inning-ending double plays for a pair of early scoreless frames behind Luis Niebla. The El Fuerte, Mexico native also retired seven straight batters after the twin killing that he started to close the second inning.
A RiverDogs run in the bottom of the first put Charleston in front, 1-0. Miguel Andujar kept the inning alive with a two-out single against David Ledbetter and scored from first base on a double by Mike Ford.
Yeicok Calderon and Eduardo de Oleo scored in the second inning for a 3-0 lead. Calderon's second RiverDogs home run was a leadoff solo shot. de Oleo followed with a single and advanced to second base due to an Abiatal Avelino groundout. Brandon Thomas singled to put runners on the corners for Michael O'Neill, who brought in de Oleo with a groundout.
Hickory broke Niebla's shutout bid with a run in the top of the fifth. Jairo Beras reached on a leadoff double. Two batters later, Beras scored during a single by Nick Urbanus to cut the deficit to 3-1. Singles by Luis Marte and Michael De Leon loaded the bases, but a ground ball back to Niebla led to Charleston's third inning-ending double play of the contest.
The Crawdads added another run in the eighth inning to climb within 3-2 against the RiverDogs. De Leon singled to start the inning and quickly moved to second base on a wild pitch. Following back-to-back strikeouts by reliever Angel Rincon, former Citadel Bulldog Joe Jackson hit a single to score De Leon for a one-run deficit.
Eric Ruth relieved Rincon and induced a fly out that ended the top of the eighth before the game entered a rain delay. After a 64-minute delay, the contest resumed with scoreless play. Ruth remained in the game through the delay to wrap up Charleston's victory.
Niebla improved to 2-1 with his second win in as many starts at home for Charleston. Ledbetter took the loss and dropped to 5-6 for Hickory. Ruth remained perfect in save opportunities with his fifth save with the RiverDogs.
BALLPARK FUN: The South Carolina Highway Patrol won a pregame softball contest against the Georgia State Patrol on Law Enforcement Night to support Special Olympics. A 20-6 South Carolina win was observed by longtime Major League second baseman and South Carolina native Orlando Hudson, who also signed autographs during his time at The Joe. The Harris Teeter Food Drive, benefitting the Lowcountry Food Bank, was hosted at the ballpark and will also include another collection date on Tuesday, August 26 (http://atmilb.com/1umCuLw).
COMING UP: The finale of this three-game series will be played at 12:05pm on Wednesday with RiverDogs RHP Rookie Davis (6-8, 4.54 ERA) pitching against Crawdads RHP Collin Wiles (1-2, 3.32 ERA). Wednesday's ticket specials include $1 general admission tickets for college students that present their college ID or a $10 package that includes an upper reserved ticket, a hot dog, chips, and a soda. Service Industry Day will be celebrated with $5 general admission tickets for service industry members and a chance to be hired as a professional hot dog eater for the game (to apply: http://bit.ly/1pWi5cd). Tickets may be purchased at the Riley Park Box Office, (843) 577-DOGS (3647) or on-line at www.riverdogs.com. If fans cannot make it to the ballpark, they are encouraged to tune in to all the action this year both home and away worldwide on www.riverdogs.com.
Box Score: http://atmilb.com/1vExFS0