A career-high eight strikeouts from Ian Clarkin was not enough for the Charleston RiverDogs on Saturday night as the Kannapolis Intimidators rallied for a 6-5 win in front of 3,813 fans at Riley Park in South Atlantic League action.
The RiverDogs fell to 1-2 in the second half and 34-39 for the season. The Intimidators improved to 2-1 and 31-39.
In the second inning, the RiverDogs took a 3-0 lead. Mikeson Oliberto's two-out double plated Reymond Nunez. Gosuke Katoh followed with a single, scoring John Murphy and Oliberto.
Kannapolis had a quick answer, cutting the deficit to 3-1 in the third. Hunter Jones hit a ground-rule double with one out and made it to third base on a groundout. Jones scored on a ground ball that was coupled with an error.
Clarkin followed with his best inning in the fourth. The lefty struck out the side during the frame to reach six strikeouts in the game. He struck out two more batters in the fifth while stranding the potential tying runs at the corners. Clarkin's eight strikeouts surpassed his previous career high of seven against the Asheville Tourists on May 31.
In the sixth, the Intimidators sliced the lead to 3-2 without any hits. Clarkin and reliever Evan Rutckyj combined to walk the bases loaded with one out. A wild pitch scored Danny Hayes.
Charleston scored two runs in its half of the sixth and stretched its lead to 5-2. The RiverDogs immediately filled the bases to open the inning. After a strikeout, Eduardo de Oleo forced in a run with a walk. Following another strikeout, Oliberto produced a run-scoring single.
The Intimidators surged ahead 6-5 during a four-run rally in the seventh inning. Trey Michalczewski singled to drive in Jones for the first run. Four batters later with the bases loaded, Carl Thomore bounced a three-run double to right field that put Kannapolis in front.
In the final three innings, the RiverDogs were unable to break through for the tying run. Tyler Wade drew a leadoff walk in the seventh inning, but Jordan Guerrero retired the next eight batters in succession. Wade earned another walk with two outs in the ninth before the game ended with a lineout to Michalczewski at third base.
Guerrero earned a win and is now 4-0 this season. Charleston reliever Philip Walby took the loss, dropping to 0-2 after allowing Kannapolis' go-ahead rally. Saturday's contest was timed at 3:23 and was preceded by a 1:59 rain delay.
Charleston hosted its 15th annual Kindness Beats Blindness auction to benefit the MUSC Storm Eye Institute and its fight against Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP). Auction items included an autographed LeBron James jersey and a Bill Murray-signed Ghostbusters poster. The lucky children who stayed through the delay and the long contest earned an opportunity to run around the bases after the game.
The finale of the four-game series will take place at 5:05 p.m. Sunday. Charleston RHP Brady Lail (7-3, 3.49 ERA) is scheduled to pitch against Kannapolis RHP Thad Lowry (2-4, 4.39 ERA). Jewish Heritage Night will be featured at The Joe, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting the Charleston Jewish Community's Kosher Food Pantry. It also is CCPRC and Crews Subaru Kids Club Sunday, including Kids Eat Free from Pepsi, free parking, and all of the members of Charlie's Kids Club get in for free.