Slow start plagues RiverDogs in opening night loss
CHARLESTON, SC - A sellout crowd of 5,692 turned out to the ballpark to celebrate the RiverDogs' 21st season at The Joe, but the hope of fireworks was dimmed early as Lexington exploded for four runs in the top of the first inning, handing the RiverDogs a 6-3 loss to open the 2017 campaign at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park.
Nick Green (0-1, 15.43) got the start for the RiverDogs (0-1) and struggled from the start. After a ground out by the leadoff hitter, second baseman Gabriel Cancel would single into left field followed by a hit batter (Kort Peterson). Cancel would come around to score on an RBI single from Chris Devito. Emmanuel Rivera would single into center field and bring around Peterson and Devito. Meibrys Viloria would strike out looking for only the second out of the inning. Amalani Fukofuka brought around Rivera on a double into the gap in left field to make it 4-0 Lexington. Green would last 2.1 innings before being replaced by Albert Abreu.
The RiverDogs had a golden opportunity in the bottom of the first when Nolan Watson walked three straight batters to load the bases with two outs, but Isiah Gilliam struck out looking to put an end to the potential rally. Charleston got on the board in the third after Oswaldo Cabrera reached on a single and scored on an RBI ground out by Donny Sands.
Charleston brought it back to a one run game after adding a pair of runs in the fifth. Blake Rutherford started the inning off with a single to right field then back to back two out walks to Gilliam and Molina loaded the bases. Rutherford scored on a wild pitch before Brandon Wagner got his first hit of the game on a jam shot single he muscled into left to bring around Gilliam.
Abreu was lights out through three innings. The Dominican righty racked up six punch outs over 3.2 innings, including five in a row at one point. It took the Legends until the seventh to add another run. Khalil Lee homered to left field to make it a 5-3 ball game.
Lexington (1-0) tacked on another in the eighth when Lee scored on a Cancel double. Grant Gavin (1-0, 0.00) took the ball to start the Legends sixth and pitched three innings of no-hit ball before Walker Sheller slammed the door with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
With Bill Murray and the who's who of Charleston on hand, Mayor Tecklenburg led the Charleston faithful in a roaring rendition of the National Anthem pregame on piano as provided by Fox Music before the RiverDogs rolled into the biggest 21st birthday party of the year. Fans celebrated the Joe's 21st birthday on a Budweiser Thirsty Thursday at The Joe presented by 95SX as fans enjoyed dollar beers and the scintillating tunes of DJ Natty Heavy in the revamped and expanded Ashley View Pub.
The RiverDogs are back in action Friday night at The Joe for round two against the Legends. RHP Freicer Perez will get the start against LHP Garrett Davila with each hurler making their first starts of the season. First pitch is set for 7:05pm.
RiverDogs season tickets, half-season ticket packages, mini plans, and group tickets are now available for the 2017 campaign, including options for the all-new Riley Park Club.
Single-game tickets are now available and can be secured by contacting the box office at (843) 577-DOGS (3647) or online at www.riverdogs.com. Those that can't make it to the park can follow every pitch of the RiverDogs season on WTMA 1250 AM in the tri-county area or by streaming online at riverdogs.com and the TuneIn Radio App by searching "RiverDogs."