After charging to a seven-run lead, the Charleston RiverDogs outlasted an Augusta GreenJackets comeback attempt in a 9-7 RiverDogs win Saturday night in front of a sellout crowd of 6,529 at Riley Park in South Atlantic League action.
Tyler Wade went 4-for-5 for Charleston, driving in two runs and scoring another.
Charleston improved to 14-15 in the second half and 47-52 overall. Augusta dropped to 13-17 and 47-51, respectively. The game, which lasted three hours and 26 minutes, was the 11th RiverDogs victory in the past 13 contests.
The RiverDogs quickly took a 3-0 lead in the first inning. After a leadoff walk and a single, Miguel Andujar singled to drive in Mark Payton. Jackson Valera came through with a single of his own that scored Wade. Michael O'Neill brought in Andujar during a groundout against GreenJackets starting pitcher Robert Ramer, who would also retire the next six batters.
Augusta scored in the top of the third before Charleston got that run back in the bottom of the frame. A double put Tyler Ross into scoring position. Following a walk, Jeremy Sy's single allowed Ross to score and cut the deficit to 3-1. In the home half of the inning, Andujar reached with a one-out single and scored on O'Neill's two-out double to left field.
A four-run rally in the fourth stretched Charleston's lead to 8-1. With one out, Gosuke Katoh singled and John Murphy doubled to get into scoring position. Katoh's single also gave him a career-high and team-best 20-game on-base streak. Brandon Thomas hit a single to score Katoh. Payton loaded the bases on a walk for Wade. A double into Augusta's bullpen from Wade brought in Murphy and Thomas. Later in the frame, Payton scored on a wild pitch.
The GreenJackets rallied with five total runs over the sixth and seventh innings. Augusta opened the sixth with back-to-back singles by Rando Moreno and Chris Lofton. Both runners scored during a ground-rule double by Ryan Jones. Three batters later, Jones scored on an error. One out into the seventh, Moreno and Lofton singled again and came in with a Cristian Paulino triple.
Charleston added an insurance run in the eighth inning to set its lead at 9-6. A leadoff fly out preceded a walk by Payton - his third of the game - and another single by Wade. Valera batted after a strikeout and bounced a single up the middle that brought in Payton.
In the top of the ninth, the GreenJackets made one more effort to tie the game. Gabriel Cornier drew a leadoff walk and advanced on a wild pitch and a deep fly out. Another wild pitch helped Cornier score and slice Charleston's lead to 9-7. Fortunately for the RiverDogs, a strikeout and a groundout closed the gap and secured Charleston's victory.
RiverDogs relievers Chad Taylor and Angel Rincon combined for 5.2 innings pitched and earned the win and the save, respectively. Taylor's first RiverDogs win sent him to 1-1 while Rincon claimed his second save of the season. Ramer took the loss for Augusta and dropped to 1-2.
The RiverDogs hosted Disco Demolition 2: You Better Belieb It, which included a postgame demolition of Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus merchandise that was donated by the fans. Before the game, the first 1,000 fans through the gates received a Bill Veeck Bobble-Leg from WCBD Channel 2, and Lowcountry resident David Beasley was honored with the Order of the Silver Crescent, South Carolina's highest honor for community service. Earlier on Saturday, HOPE Week 2014 wrapped up with a visit to Fields to Families, a nonprofit organization that harvests unwanted or extra produce that will feed the hungry.
Game three of the four-game series will be played at 5:05 p.m. Sunday as Charleston LHP Omar Luis (0-1, 15.75 ERA) is scheduled to start against Augusta LHP Christian Jones (4-6, 3.02 ERA).