Bird helps R’Dogs soar past Braves

RiverDogs first baseman Greg Bird accounted for three of Charleston’s five runs en route to a 5-1 victory Friday night at State Mutual Stadium.

The RiverDogs (41-29, 2-0) are currently in first place in the Southern Division as the lone undefeated team in the second half. Rome (36-35, 0-2) remains in last place.

Charleston starter Vicente Campos had one of his best outings of the season as he tossed four innings of shutout ball, allowing only three hits while striking out five. Brett Gerritse (6-4) earned the win as he came in to relieve Campos to start the fifth inning. Gerritse’s final line was 2.1 innings pitched, one run, one hit and a season-high four walks.

Gerritse was relieved by newly acquired lefty James Pazos. Pazos was impressive in his debut, getting out of a tough jam in the seventh and limiting the Braves to just one inherited run. Pazos went 12/3 scoreless innings that saw him strike out two while not allowing a single baserunner. Adam Smith pitched a perfect ninth inning to close out the game.

Bird finished the night 3 for 4 with two singles, a double, a walk, a run scored and 3 RBIs.

The RiverDogs would hold onto their 2-0 lead until the sixth inning when they struck for another run. With one out, Danny Oh stepped to the plate and doubled, putting himself in scoring position. Kelvin De Leon followed Oh and hit a ground rule double to left field scoring Oh and extending Charleston’s lead to 3-0.

Cave led off the seventh with a triple and scored the final run of the game on an RBI single by Bird. Cave finished the night 1-for-2 with a triple, two walks and two runs scored in the leadoff spot. Bird, De Leon, Oh and Jackson Valera all finished with multiple hits to help lead the offensive barrage for the RiverDogs in which eight of the nine starters recorded at least one hit.

Rome starter Frank LaFreniere (3-6) took the loss as he went five innings and allowed two runs

Game three of the four-game series against the Braves is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday at State Mutual Stadium. Charleston will send right-hander Luis Niebla (3-3, 6.17 ERA) to the mound as Rome counters with fellow righty Williams Perez (4-3, 4.04 ERA).