Aune powers R’Dogs

Austin Aune had four extra-base hits and four RBIs as the Charleston RiverDogs bounced back to defeat the Asheville Tourists, 10-5, Sunday afternoon at McCormick Field.

Charleston (30-33) trailed 2-1 after three innings, but went on to score eight unanswered runs en route to the five-run victory, just the second in six games for the RiverDogs in Asheville (29-34). The rally started in the fourth inning when Vince Conde drew a leadoff walk against Asheville starter Carlos Polanco.

Aune followed with the first extra-base hit of his day, a triple off the wall in left field, which tied the game. Alex Palma was next and hit a sacrifice fly, which scored Aune, and put the RiverDogs in front for good at 3-2.

A four-run fifth kept the wheels in motion for Charleston. Chris Breen laced an RBI double to center, which upped the lead to 4-2 before Aune stepped in again.

The designated hitter hit a line drive down the line in left that Wes Rogers couldn’t track down. It snuck by the left fielder and rolled around the corner and Aune hustled home for a three-run inside-the-park homer and Charleston held the 7-2 lead. Jorge Mateo made it 9-2 with a RBI single in the sixth and another RBI on a fielder’s choice in the eighth.

Conner Kendrick picked up the win in his South Atlantic League debut for the RiverDogs. The southpaw went the first five innings, allowing two runs on four hits. He walked a batter, hit a batter and struck out two. The only hiccup in Kendrick’s (1-0) outing was the second where he walked the first batter of the inning, hit the second and gave up two earned runs in the frame.

Andre Del Bosque pitched two-perfect innings before Dillon McNamara was called upon for the final two innings. Asheville scored three runs against the righty, but couldn’t get closer than 9-5. Breen added to his own big day with a solo homer to left center in the top of the ninth to make it 10-5.

Aune’s third hit was a double to the wall in left-center in the seventh, which set the table for his cycle attempt in the ninth. He stepped in as the third hitter of the top of the ninth and hit a line drive to dead center over the head of Max White. He breezed by first and pulled up into second for his second double, thus ending his attempt at a cycle.

The inside-the-park homer for Aune was the third hit by a RiverDogs’ player this year as he joins Brandon Thomas and Jorge Mateo as the other players to do so. The four hits is a new career-high and the four RBIs tie a career-high for the native of Argyle, Texas.

The RiverDogs return to McCormick Field and wrap up the series — and road trip — against the Tourists at 7 p.m. Monday. RHP Matt Wotherspoon (0-0, 3.48 ERA) will pitch for Charleston against RHP Sam Howard (2-6, 3.86) of the Tourists. Listen to the game on WTMA 1250-AM, WTMA.com and RiverDogs.com.

The RiverDogs return home for the final homestand of the first half on Tuesday. It will be a six-gamer with three games against the West Virginia Power (Pirates affiliate) and three contests against Asheville (Rockies affiliate). Tickets are available by calling (843) 577-DOGS or by visiting RiverDogs.com.