Fowler, RiverDogs slam Legends in first-half finale
LEXINGTON, KY. - The first half of the 2014 season came to a close on Sunday when Dustin Fowler's first professional grand slam launched the Charleston RiverDogs to a 10-3 victory over the Lexington Legends at Whitaker Bank Ballpark in South Atlantic League action.
The RiverDogs finished the first half with a 33-37 record and a fifth-place finish in the Southern Division.
Starting pitchers Ian Clarkin and Crawford Simmons each allowed two hits in five shutout innings for Charleston and Lexington, respectively. Clarkin struck out five without delivering a walk, while Simmons had six strikeouts and four walks. In a four-game series with the Legends, RiverDogs starters combined to allow only one run in 22.0 innings pitched.
Lexington (29-41) broke the scoreless deadlock in the sixth inning to take a 1-0 lead. Kevin Kuntz greeted RiverDogs reliever Omar Luis with a double. Kuntz moved to third base on Alfredo Escalera-Maldonado's sacrifice bunt and scored on a wild pitch for the game's first run.
Fowler pushed the RiverDogs in front, 4-1, with a grand slam early in the seventh. With one out in the inning, Gosuke Katoh walked, Michael O'Neill was hit by a pitch and Tyler Wade walked to load the bases. Fowler touched Matt Alvarez for a grand glam, his third home run this season.
The Legends cut the lead to 4-3 in the bottom of the seventh but failed to tie the game.
Charleston responded with six unanswered runs to pull away from Lexington. The RiverDogs loaded the bases against Jose Rodriguez to start the eighth before the Legends brought in Tripp Davis. Katoh brought in two runs with a single for a 6-3 lead. Two batters later, Wade recorded his own two-run single to drive the lead to 8-3. In the ninth, John Murphy scored on a wild pitch to Katoh, who would single to score Brandon Thomas for a seven-run winning advantage.
Aaron Judge was not in the lineup for Sunday's game but ended the first half as the SAL batting leader with a .333 average. Also, Eduardo de Oleo's team-best 11-game hit streak ended after an 0-for-5 outing.
Luis picked up the victory for Charleston to climb to 2-2. Alvarez lost and is 2-2 with Lexington.