COLUMBIA — Nathan Mikolas’ two-run home run, right-hander Luis Cedeno doing enough in his ninth start of the season and a solid showing by the bullpen carried the Charleston RiverDogs to a 3-1 victory over the Columbia Fireflies on Monday night at Spirit Communications Park.
In the second inning, Mikolas gave the RiverDogs an early 2-0 advantage, launching a fly ball to left-center field that just went over the top of the wall for the third home run of the season, scoring Jhalan Jackson, who had drawn a walk.
In the home half of the second, Fireflies DH Jeff Diehl drew a one-out walk, and Cedeno (5-3) hit Pat Mazieka to put runners at first and second. A wild pitch moved each of the runners an extra 90 feet before Vicente Lupo hit a grounder to third to score Diehl and cut the RiverDogs’ lead to a run.
In the third, Kyle Holder singled to center before coming around to score on a throwing error by Columbia shortstop J.C. Rodriguez to gift the RiverDogs a run and make it 3-1.
Cedeno did not have his best stuff but was bailed out by double-play balls in the first and third to finish allowing just a run on five hits across 52/3 innings.
The Charleston bullpen was superb, with Jose Mesa Jr. and Andrew Schwaab combining to record 10 consecutive outs to finish the game. Mesa entered with runners at the corners in the sixth and got Mazieka to ground out to second, and would finish with three strikeouts in 21/3 innings. Schwaab made it a 1-2-3 ninth to pick up his South Atlantic League-leading 16th save of the season.
The RiverDogs chased Chase Ingram (4-7) in the fifth after the Fireflies right labored, tossing 98 pitches in just 41/3 innings.
The teams play again Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. at Spirit Communications Park in Columbia. The RiverDogs will send RHP Daris Vargas (4-4, 3.49 ERA) to the mound as Columbia counters with LHP Kevin Canelon (4-6, 3.27).
The RiverDogs return to Riley Park for a weeklong homestand from July 12-18.