HICKORY, N.C. -- Zoilo Almonte belted two home runs for Charleston, but the RiverDogs' late-inning rally fell short in an 8-6 loss against the Hickory Crawdads in a soggy game Tuesday night at L.P. Frans Stadium Tuesday.
Almonte, who finished 3-for-5 with three RBIs and a career-high four runs scored, became the first RiverDog to hit two home runs in a game since Melky Mesa hit a pair on June 25, 2009 at Savannah.
A persistent rain shower also fell throughout the first five innings, contributing to spotty defense from both sides, as a combined six errors were committed.
The Crawdads (6-7) opened the scoring with two outs in the first on a throwing error by Kelvin Castro that scored Leury Garcia for a 1-0 Crawdads advantage.
Charleston (5-8) tied the score at 1-1 in third against starter Wilmer Font, when Zoilo Almonte reached on an error, took third on DeAngelo Mack's single and scored on Luke Murton's sacrifice fly.
The Crawdads posted a two-run fourth against Sean Black (0-1) on a two-run homer to left by Miguel Velazquez.
In the fourth, Cody Podraza drove a run-scoring double down the right-field line to bring home Ed Koncel and put the Crawdads up 4-1.
Almonte launched his first home run, an opposite field shot to left, to trim the lead to 4-2 in the fifth. Font (2-0) exited after the fifth and picked up the victory, surrendering two runs on just two hits with one walk and five punchouts.
Hickory brought home three more runs off Black in the bottom half, aided by a pair of Charleston errors in increasing the count to 7-2.
Black pitched five innings allowing seven runs - five earned - on six hits while walking two and sinking none in his first defeat.
The RiverDogs began their rally in the seventh, as Murton came calling again for Charleston, lining a two-run double into the left-field corner off Crawdads reliever Kyle O'Campo slicing the lead to 7-4.
Leury Garcia responded by adding a bouncing a RBI single to right field in the eighth to extend the lead to 8-4.
Almonte clobbered his second homer of the game, a two-run blast in the ninth, bringing the score to 8-6, but closer Josh Lueke was summoned and recorded the final three outs for his fourth save of the year.
Murton finished 2-for-4 with three RBI for Charleston, while Podraza added two hits for Hickory.
Game two of this four-game clip is set for a special 11 a.m. start time on Wednesday morning. Charleston has announced that right-hander Jose Ramirez (0-0, 3.48 ERA) will get the start, while Hickory gives the ball to right-hander Matt Thompson (0-0, 4.00 ERA).