Brandon Thomas set a career high with four hits and knocked in the winning run to pace the Charleston RiverDogs to an 8-5 series-clinching victory over the Augusta GreenJackets on Monday afternoon in front of 2,078 fans at Riley Park in South Atlantic League action.
Mark Payton also hit his first professional home run in the victory.
The RiverDogs improved to 15-16 in the second half and 48-53 this season. With the loss, the GreenJackets fell to 14-18 and 48-52, respectively.
Augusta opened the scoring, taking a 2-0 advantage in the first inning.
Charleston answered with a run in the second before taking the lead in the third. With runners on the corners and one out in the second, Brandon Thomas had a 2-2 count. He swung and missed at the next pitch, but due to an error in the count, he remained at the plate. On a full count, Thomas hit an infield single to score Eduardo de Oleo. In the third inning, Dustin Fowler and de Oleo each drove in runs on singles that gave Charleston a 3-2 advantage.
Both teams traded a run in the fourth inning.
The RiverDogs scored again in the fifth for a 5-3 lead. Thomas batted with runners at first and second with two outs. With a 2-2 pitch, Thomas doubled to score Reymond Nunez, but Gosuke Katoh was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.
The GreenJackets rallied with two outs in the seventh to even the score at 5.
Thomas and Payton guided the RiverDogs to a go-ahead rally in the eighth inning. Nunez led off with a single before pinch-runner John Murphy was sacrificed to second base by Katoh. Thomas singled to score Murphy and give Charleston a 6-5 lead. Payton followed with a two-run homer to right field, his first professional home run to extend the lead to 8-5. After the rally, reliever Eric Ruth pitched a perfect ninth inning that closed the win.
Monday's matinee offered special deals for businesspersons and members of the service industry for the special 12:05 p.m. start time. Coors and Magic 107.3 sponsored $1 hot dogs and $1 drafts in the Ashley View Pub.
The RiverDogs will be idle on Tuesday before starting a seven-game road trip.
Charleston will play at Lexington on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. with RiverDogs RHP Rookie Davis (4-8, 4.66 ERA) set to start. The next RiverDogs homestand is scheduled for July 31-August 3 against the Hagerstown Suns.
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