HAGERSTOWN, Md. — Facing the Northern Division first half champs, the Charleston RiverDogs expected a high-scoring affair, but maybe not the extent the series opener would bring. The RiverDogs and Hagerstown Suns combined for a season-high 24 runs and 26 total hits as Charleston saw its early lead shrink to one before hanging on to win, 14-10, over in Saturday’s series opener at Municipal Stadium.
RiverDogs right fielder Alex Palma went 4 for 5, reached safely in all five trips to the plate and collected his second four-RBI night in the last three games to lead the offensive charge. First baseman Kane Sweeney went 3 for 4, driving in three, and Ricardo Ferreira homered while driving in four from the leadoff spot.
Charleston (55-42 overall, 13-15 second half) struck early in the first inning, taking advantage of shaky command by Hagerstown ace Pedro Avila (7-7). The Venezuelan righty walked three batters to load the bases with one out before Palma wiped the bases clean with a double to the left-field corner to make it 3-0 Charleston.
In the second, RiverDogs second baseman Chris Godinez led off the inning with a double before Cesar Diaz walked and Ferreira doubled Charleston’s lead with a three-run blast to right, his first of the season, to make it 6-0.
In the fourth, the RiverDogs made it 7-0 on consecutive doubles by Mandy Alvarez and Sweeney.
RiverDogs righty Anyelo Gomez (3-1) was perfect through the first three innings before giving up a solo shot to center fielder Randy Encarnacion. The homer would be the first of a five-hit, three-run inning that cut the RiverDogs’ lead to 7-3.
Charleston built its lead to as much as eight in the top of the fifth inning on run-scoring doubles by Sweeney and Palma, but it would shrink to one. In the home half, Hagerstown (60-39,17-12) sent 11 men to the plate, scoring seven runs on five hits to cut it to 11-10.
Charleston got much-needed insurance in the eighth after loading the bases with nobody out. RiverDogs catcher Audie Afenir drove in a run on a sacrifice fly to right before Godinez and Cesar Diaz added RBI hits to push the RiverDogs’ lead to 14-10.
The RiverDogs continue the four-game series with Hagerstown, the Class A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, at Municipal Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The RiverDogs will send RHP Adonis Rosa (NR) with the Suns rolling out major leaguer Joe Ross on rehab assignment. Fans can listen to the game on WTMA 1250-AM and streaming online at riverdogs.com.