Charleston catcher homers for first time in two years in loss to Columbia
COLUMBIA, S.C. Charleston catcher Eduardo Navas slugged just his second professional home run and drove in two, but the RiverDogs dropped their fifth straight in a 3-2 defeat to Columbia on Sunday afternoon at Spirit Communications Park.
The Fireflies (36-25) held on for their eighth consecutive win and their 13th in the last 16 games as the Mets affiliate continued to put pressure on the Greenville Drive (BOS) in the first half Southern division race with seven games remaining. Charleston (30-33) falls into a season-long losing skid and their low watermark on the year at three games under .500.
Trailing 3-0 heading into the third, Navas scraped a solo shot over the right field wall for the Venezuela native’s first home run since August 24, 2015 when he went deep in a Dominican Summer League game in rookie ball.
Navas drove in another in the fifth to make it a one-run game. Brandon Wagner hit a fly ball that Tim Tebow couldn’t run down in left field that landed for a double to lead off the frame. After a Ben Ruta ground out, Navas collected his first multi-RBI game of the season when he bounced out to short to score Charleston’s first baseman.
Columbia scored all of their runs in the second inning. After Adonis Rosa (1-2, 4.23) yielded three consecutive base hits to load up the bases, catcher Ali Sanchez hit into a force out at the plate to put one away. Tebow hit a ground ball single to right that plated two and made it 2-0 Fireflies. Designated hitter Reed Gamache added another with a sac fly to right.
Rosa took the loss, allowing just the three runs in the second on six hits while striking out three without a walk and one hit batter.
Gabriel Llanes (4-3, 2.93) nearly went the distance for Columbia, turning in 8.2 innings of two-run ball on six hits with a walk and a punch out.
Charleston rallied in the ninth when Oswaldo Cabrera reached on an error to begin the inning, but Isiah Gilliam bounced into a 6-4-3 double play, one of four hit into by the RiverDogs on the day. Second baseman Angel Aguilar singled before Dalton Blaser battled with closer Adonis Uceta before flying out to center to end it.
The RiverDogs wrap up the series in Columbia with a first pitch at 7:05pm on Monday night from Spirit Communications Park. The RiverDogs will send All-Star right-hander Brian Keller (4-5, 4.30) as the Fireflies counter with another All-Star selection, righty Merandy Gonzalez (8-1, 1.56). 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 7.