ROME, GA. - After an early rain delay and an evenly fought contest through eight innings, the Charleston RiverDogs emerged with a 6-3 victory over the Rome Braves on Friday night at State Mutual Stadium in South Atlantic League action.
Kale Sumner and Gosuke Katoh drove in all of Charleston's runs in the ninth inning to rally for the win.
Charleston moved to 24-24 in the second half and 57-61 overall. Rome fell to 21-27 and 45-73, respectively. The RiverDogs tied this four-game set at 1-1, snapping a four-game losing streak.
Friday's contest was preceded by a 52-minute rain delay, but the action moved quickly through the opening innings once the game began. Rome's Steve Janas and Charleston's Rookie Davis combined to retire the first 13 batters of the contest. Braves center fielder Connor Oliver made a leaping running catch on a potential extra-base hit by Yeicok Calderon at the end of that stretch.
During the bottom of the third inning, the Braves jumped out to a 2-0 lead. Connor Lien led off with a triple before Carlos Sanchez drew a walk. Reed Harper singled to score Lien and send Sanchez to third base. Two batters later, Johan Camargo brought in Sanchez on a sacrifice fly.
The RiverDogs quickly responded in the top of the fourth by rallying in front, 3-2. A leadoff single by Tyler Wade preceded a walk for Michael O'Neill that put the potential tying runs on base. After a fly out allowed Wade to move to third base, Dustin Fowler tripled to drive in both runners. Fowler scored during a Jackson Valera single that gave Charleston its first lead.
Rome tied the contest at 3-3 in the home half of the fourth inning. Carlos Franco got into scoring position on a one-out double and reached third base on a wild pitch. Sal Giardina hit a ground ball to score Franco ahead of a throw by Katoh from second base on a fielder's choice.
Neither team scored over the next four innings as the game remained tied at three runs apiece. Janas and Davis closed solid starts, while relievers Richie Tate and Giovanny Gallegos each began their outings with scoreless work. Janas also earned a quality start for his effort.
Charleston surged ahead with a critical go-ahead rally in the ninth. Fowler singled to begin the inning and was joined on the bases by Calderon following a one-out walk. Sumner plated both runners with a double that provided a 5-3 lead for the RiverDogs and went to third base on a throw to home plate. Katoh delivered a single to score Sumner for a 6-3 cushion.
Gallegos picked up the victory, going to 5-4 with three scoreless innings of relief. Tate was charged with the loss and slipped to 4-4. Stefan Lopez closed the contest in the bottom of the ninth, converting his third save with the RiverDogs.
Game three of this four-game series is scheduled for Saturday at 7 p.m. with Charleston RHP Andy Beresford (1-0, 3.81 ERA) squaring off against Rome LHP Yean Carlos Gil (5-5, 3.64 ERA).
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