CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Alex Palma blasted a three-run home run in the fifth inning and the Charleston bullpen took the reins from there as the RiverDogs snapped out of a four-game skid to take a 5-4 victory over West Virginia on Thursday night at Appalachian Power Park.
The victory shook Charleston (54-41, 12-14) out of a season-long four game losing streak and puts the first half champs into a share for second place in the Southern Division second half standings, trailing first-place Augusta by 31/2 games.
Palma went 2 for 4 while driving in four of Charleston’s runs to match a career high. Shortstop Hoy Jun Park also went 3 for 5 in his fifth three-hit game of the year in a 13-hit effort by the RiverDogs offense.
Palma’s three-run blast, his fourth of the season, broke open a 2-2 tie in the fifth inning, but West Virginia (49-47, 14-13) wouldn’t give the RiverDogs any time to relax, cutting the lead to just one in the bottom half. With one out, Alfredo Reyes reached on an error by Park, his second of the ballgame, to put the pressure on RiverDogs starter Daris Vargas (6-5).
After Reyes stole second, Power center fielder Casey Hughston doubled him home with a ground-rule hopper to left to make it a 5-3 game. Logan Ratledge followed with a double down the right-field line that made it 5-4. Vargas allowed four runs — one earned — on four hits with two walks and four strikeouts.
Justin Kamplain and Greg Weissert combined for four shutout innings out of the bullpen.
The RiverDogs and Power wrap up their series on Friday at 7:05 p.m. Charleston will send RHP Luis Cedeno (5-4, 3.79 ERA) to the mound as the Power counter with RHP Logan Sendelbach (7-3, 3.31).