Gosuke Katoh led the Charleston RiverDogs with three hits, two runs, and drove in a tie-breaking run in the eighth inning, but the Kannapolis Intimidators scored two runs in the ninth for a 6-5 comeback win Sunday in front of 3,885 fans at Riley Park in South Atlantic League action.
The RiverDogs are now 1-3 in the second half and 34-40 this season. The Intimidators improved to 3-1 and 32-39.
This was Kannapolis' third straight come-from-behind win and the first RiverDogs loss this season when leading at the end of eight innings.
The scoring opened in the third inning as both teams put up a run. Kannapolis' Nolan Earley tagged Brady Lail for a solo home run to right field, his first blast of the season. In the bottom of the frame, Katoh scored for Charleston on a groundout by Michael O'Neill.
Kannapolis reclaimed the lead, building a 4-1 advantage through the top of the fifth. During the fourth, Danny Hayes and Jacob Morris posted back-to-back doubles to score a run. Earley and Tyler Williams each scored in the fifth, coming in on a Tyler Shryock single and a double play, respectively.
Charleston erased its deficit in the bottom of the fourth to tie the contest at 4-4. Two singles and a groundout put runners in scoring position for the RiverDogs. O'Neill bounced in Brandon Thomas with another groundout to bring in a run. Dustin Fowler followed with his fourth home run of the season, evening the score against the Kannapolis starter Thad Lowry.
The RiverDogs and Intimidators remained tied at 4-4 through seven innings after both starting pitchers departed. Lail tied a career high with seven innings pitched and struck out five batters. Lowry's six innings matched his own career high before he was relieved by Jose Brito. Despite a bases-loaded jam in the seventh, Brito escaped to keep the game tied.
Charleston surged ahead 5-4 in the bottom of the eighth. Kale Sumner was hit by a pitch to open the inning. A wild pitch to Katoh allowed Sumner to move into scoring position. Katoh produced a single that plated Sumner and put the RiverDogs in the lead.
In the final inning, Kannapolis rallied to take a 6-5 lead. With runners on the corners and one out, Earley singled off Cale Coshow to bring in Hayes for the tying run. Later in the inning, RiverDogs reliever Eric Ruth had the bases loaded with two outs but hit Hunter Jones with a pitch that forced in Jeremy Dowdy for the go-ahead run. Jones also made a tough leaping catch to help reliever Alex Powers record a perfect inning of relief to protect Kannapolis' win.
Brito earned the victory and is 1-1 for the Intimidators. Coshow picked up the loss to drop to 0-1. Powers claimed his first save of the season.
Jewish Heritage Night was hosted at The Joe, which included Ian Kay's rendition of the Israeli National Anthem and Charlie T. RiverDog up on a chair for the Hora, a traditional Jewish dance. A portion of the proceeds at the event will go to the Charleston Jewish Community's Kosher Food Pantry. The RiverDogs also wore their slick seersucker uniforms and signed autographs for fans after Sunday's contest.
Charleston opens a four-game home series with the Savannah Sand Gnats on Monday at 7:05 p.m. RiverDogs LHP Omar Luis (2-2, 6.29 ERA) will start the opener. The Sand Gnats have not announced their starting pitcher.