Asheville scored six runs in the fifth inning and held off a late rally to defeat the Charleston RiverDogs, 7-5, and earn a sweries sweep on Sunday in front of 4,326 fans at Riley Park in South Atlantic League baseball.
Aaron Judge hit his seventh home run for the RiverDogs (27-29), who lost their fifth straight. He also tripled while scoring two of Charleston's runs.
Asheville is 32-23 following the four-game sweep.
Following three scoreless innings, the Tourists took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth. Raimel Tapia opened the frame with a single. Ryan McMahon was hit by a pitch, and a pair of flyouts set up runners on the corners. McMahon started for second base while Tapia got a great jump for the plate. Tapia slid home on a stolen base for Asheville's first run.
The RiverDogs moved in front with a two-run spurt at the end of the fourth. Judge led off with a triple and tied the game by scoring on Miguel Andujar's single. With the bases loaded and two outs, Brandon Thomas bounced an infield single that allowed Andujar to score the go-ahead run and put Charleston up 2-1.
Asheville scored six runs in the fifth and took the lead for good. Wilfredo Rodriguez tied the contest with a one-out single that brought in Emerson Jimenez. Correlle Prime's two-out, two-run double broke the tie to give the Tourists a 4-2 advantage. Jose Briceno added his own double to score two more runs. Briceno closed the scoring later in the frame when he stole third base and went home on a throwing error on the play for a 7-2 Asheville lead.
Judge's homer cut it to 7-3 in the bottom of the fifth. On a 2-1 pitch, Judge lifted a home run over the batter's eye in the center field. It was Judge's seventh blast of his professional career, all against right-handed pitchers, as a member of the RiverDogs.
In the last of the ninth, Charleston attempted a comeback that brought the potential tying run to the plate. Dustin Fowler singled and would score from second base on a double by Gosuke Katoh. Tyler Wade drove in Katoh with a two-out single that pulled the RiverDogs within two. With Judge in the on-deck circle, Asheville's Troy Neiman induced a game-ending groundout.
Antonio Senzatela (6-1) earned the win for Asheville with three runs allowed in five innings pitched.
Charleston's Caleb Smith (4-4) was tagged with the loss in 42/3 innings. Neiman claimed his third save in as many opportunities this season.
The homestand finale was preceded by the annual Bark for Your Brew event with fans enjoying a sampling of several craft beers alongside their dogs, which stayed for the game on Dog Day. Denny McLain, the last Major League pitcher to win at least 30 games in a season, was signing autographs and chatting with fans during Sunday's game. The Fire Circus performed on-field routines with flaming torches and hula hoops on Luau Night at The Joe.
Charleston starts a three-game road series at Hickory on Monday at 7 p.m. RiverDogs RHP Brady Lail (7-1, 3.19 ERA) will pitch against Crawdads RHP Cole Wiper (3-6, 4.15). Riley Park will host a four-game homestand against the Savannah Sand Gnats after the quick road trip, starting on Thursday with another Budweiser Thirsty Thursday. This includes $1 drafts and DJ Natty Heavy in the Ashley View Pub, along with a wing-eating contest from Wild Wing Café. Tickets may be purchased at the Riley Park Box Office, (843) 577-3647 or online at www.riverdogs.com.
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