CHARLESTON - A go-ahead grand slam by Kale Sumner propelled the Charleston RiverDogs to a 7-2 victory over the Rome Braves on Saturday night in front of 5,773 fans at Joe Riley Park in South Atlantic League action.
Sumner's grand slam, the first of his career, was also joined by a two-run blast from Michael O'Neill that added to the lead.
The RiverDogs advanced to 29-27 in the second half and 62-64 overall. The Braves dropped to 25-31 and 49-77, respectively.
In the top of the first inning, the Braves strung together three straight hits and took a 1-0 lead. After back-to-back groundouts, Sean Godfrey and Jake Schrader extended the inning with singles. Carlos Franco delivered a single of his own to score Godfrey and put Rome ahead.
Sumner capped a five-run rally in the fourth inning with his grand slam. A single by Miguel Andujar and a walk for Yeicok Calderon opened the frame. Following a fly out, Gosuke Katoh singled to load the bases. Brandon Thomas tied the game at 1-1 with a single that scored Andujar. Sumner followed with a grand slam to left field that gave the RiverDogs a 5-1 lead. It was Sumner's fourth home run of the season.
O'Neill hit a home run of his own to send Charleston to a 7-1 advantage in the sixth. Brandon Thomas reached on a force out and stole second base while Sumner was at the plate. O'Neill, the next batter, cleared the left-field wall with a two-run home run, his 10th blast of the season.
Rome answered with a run in the eighth inning to shave the deficit to 7-2. Franco reached on a one-out single and moved to third base during a single from Alejandro Piloto. Sal Giardina doubled to drive in Franco, but it would be the final run for the Braves in the contest.
Charleston's Chaz Hebert claimed the victory and improved to 3-3. Hebert only allowed one run in five innings of relief. Rome's Michael Swanner was handed a loss and fell back to 4-2. Swanner allowed the first four RiverDogs runs over 2.2 innings of relief.
The Charleston RiverDogs and CARTA joined forces to make an attempt at the Guinness World Record for Largest Kazoo Ensemble after Saturday's victory. Before the game, the top participants in the sixth annual Summerville Family YMCA Youth Triathlon were recognized on the field. The town of James Island celebrated a night at the ballpark that included a ceremonial first pitch by Mayor Bill Woolsey.
The finale of the four-game series starts at 5:05 p.m. and features Charleston RHP Luis Niebla (2-1, 2.70 ERA) pitching against Rome LHP Matt Marksberry (5-8, 3.75 ERA).
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