Mark Payton's first professional hit drove in the first run of a three-run Charleston RiverDogs rally in a 3-1 victory against the Rome Braves on Sunday in front of 3,077 fans at Riley Park in South Atlantic League baseball.
Charleston (5-13 second half, 38-50 overall) won this three-game series by a 2-1 margin. The Braves drop to 4-14 and 28-60, respectively.
Rome's Matt Marksberry (0-6) and Charleston's Chaz Hebert matched zeroes through six scoreless innings. Marksberry yielded a walk in the first inning and a single in the second before he retired 15 consecutive batters through the end of the sixth. Hebert gave up two hits, stranding a runner at third base in the third inning. Hebert completed 62/3 shutout innings and was relieved by Cale Coshow (1-1), who closed the top of the seventh with a strikeout.
Payton and the RiverDogs rallied in the bottom of the seventh to take a 3-0 lead. Dustin Fowler singled and Miguel Andujar walked to open the inning. Reliever Brady Feigl came in and induced a popout for the first out. Payton responded with a single to score Fowler and put Charleston in front. After a strikeout, Jackson Valera and Gosuke Katoh each drove in runs with singles of their own, giving the RiverDogs a three-run advantage.
In the eighth inning, Rome broke up the shutout. Coshow set down the first two batters but left the game with a 3-1 count against Carlos Sanchez. The RiverDogs brought in Philip Walby, who gave up a single to Sanchez and a walk to Connor Lien. Sanchez scored on a Reed Harper single and cut the Braves' deficit to two.
Walby closed out the eighth inning and pitched a scoreless ninth inning to close the win. Payton was the only player to score and drive in a run, going 1-for-3 in his second professional game.
Coshow picked up his first professional victory, while Walby recorded his fifth save of the season.
In-game entertainment was provided by the Fur Circus, a traveling troupe of mascots that performs at professional sporting events. Celebrity "Smokin' Chef" Justin Moore worked at the RiverDogs' new meat smoker, preparing a Classic Carolina pulled pork sandwich. Following their victory, the RiverDogs signed autographs for fans while wearing their snappy seersucker uniforms, a regular postgame event after Sunday home games.
Charleston starts a three-game series against the Greenville Drive on Monday at 7:05 p.m. RiverDogs LHP Ian Clarkin (3-3, 3.49 ERA) will face Drive RHP Myles Smith (3-5, 6.13). It will be Dollar Dogs and Beers Night in the Ashley View Pub. All-Lowcountry Softball and Baseball Night, sponsored by The Post and Courier, honors the best local softball and baseball players. Dogs with a Cause will support Camp Good Times. Tickets may be purchased at the Riley Park Box Office, (843) 577-3647 or online at www.riverdogs.com.