Featuring a strong offensive performance by Jackson Valera, the Charleston RiverDogs swept the Lexington Legends in a Thursday doubleheader with victories of 6-2 and 5-1 in front of 4,982 fans at Riley Park in South Atlantic League action.
Valera went 5-for-5 in the twin bill with a double, a sacrifice fly and five runs batted in.
The RiverDogs climbed to 12-15 in the second half and 45-52 overall. The Legends slid to 11-17 and 40-58, respectively. Charleston won this three-game series by a 2-1 margin.
In the opener, Lexington and Charleston each scored in the second inning. A two-out single by Alexis Rivera brought in Dex Kjerstad for a brief 1-0 lead for the Legends. During the bottom of the frame, Gosuke Katoh lifted a broken-bat triple to right field and scored on a Valera single.
Charleston grabbed a 4-1 lead with a three-run rally in the bottom of the third. Dustin Fowler led off with a double and scored after a double from Miguel Andujar. Following a Michael O'Neill single, Eduardo de Oleo singled to drive in Andujar. Two batters later, another single by Valera allowed O'Neill to score.
Lexington cut the difference to 4-2 in the fourth inning on a double from Rivera, but Charleston responded with a two-run spurt in the fifth. Back-to-back two-out singles for Valera and John Murphy scored O'Neill and Valera to give the RiverDogs a 6-2 advantage.
The winning pitcher in the opener was Rookie Davis, who improved to 4-8 this season. Luke Farrell suffered his fifth straight losing decision and fell to 1-8. Evan Rutckyj earned the save. It was Rutckyj's first professional save, coming in his 81st professional appearance.
In the nightcap, Andujar and Valera boosted the RiverDogs to a 3-0 lead in the third inning. O'Neill hit a one-out single before Tyler Wade was hit by a pitch. Miguel Andujar brought in both runs with a double. After a strikeout, Andujar scored during Valera's two-out double.
During the fifth inning, both teams posted a run. Lexington's Fred Ford reached on a one-out single, moved to second base after a groundout and scored on a Carlos Garcia double. Valera responded with a sacrifice fly in the home half of the inning, scoring Andujar for a 4-1 lead.
Charleston stretched the lead to 5-1 in the bottom of the sixth. Brandon Thomas' bunt single opened the inning. A stolen base and a wild pitch put Thomas at third base. Andujar lifted a sacrifice fly that scored Thomas for the run.
Giovanny Gallegos earned the victory and improved to 2-4. Tripp Davis took the loss and his record was evened at 2-2. Ian Clarkin started for Charleston and retired all six batters that he faced over two perfect innings.
HOPE Week 2014 continued with Lowcountry Food Bank's Food Works Program. The RiverDogs worked side-by-side with Food Works apprentices on Thursday morning, prepping meals for Meals on Wheels and the Summer Feeding program. Near the end of Thursday's doubleheader, Cheap Hats and Bourbon began a concert near the Beer Garden, which was sponsored by Palmetto Brewery and Awendaw Green.
Charleston hosts a four-game series against the Augusta GreenJackets that starts on Friday at 7:05 p.m. RiverDogs RHP Andy Beresford (0-0, 5.06 ERA) will square off with GreenJackets RHP Chase Johnson (1-5, 5.05 ERA).
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