Breen’s blast not enough for RiverDogs

Chris Breen blasted his team-leading fourth home run of the season in the seventh inning, but it was not enough to lift the Charleston RiverDogs past the Hickory Crawdads as they fell, 5-2, Tuesday night at L.P. Frans Stadium.

The RiverDogs (28-30) went scoreless through the first six innings of the game, despite having runners in scoring position in the first, second and third. Juan Graterol grounded into a double play to end the first with runners on first and third, Austin Aune grounded out to end the second with a runner on second, and Angel Aguilar struck out to retire the side in third with another runner on second.

Hickory (37-20) got on the board in the first inning with a leadoff single by Isiah Kiner-Falefa, a double by Josh Morgan and a sacrifice fly by Eduard Pinto. Rock Shoulders boosted the Crawdads’ lead to 2-0 with a solo home run in the fourth. Jose Trevino hit a three-run shot in the fifth, his seventh of the season, to break the game wide open.

The five-run deficit was ultimately too much for the RiverDogs to overcome, despite closing the gap in the seventh inning. Chris Dula replaced Hickory’s starter Luis Ortiz and the RiverDogs capitalized. Graterol led off with a single, his first hit as a RiverDog. After a Connor Spencer strikeout, Breen belted a homer over the fence in left-center field. Vince Conde drew a walk, but Aune grounded into a double play to end the frame.

Ortiz (3-1) pitched six scoreless innings for Hickory, allowed four hits and struck out four. Luis Cedeno (3-6) gave up five runs on nine hits in five innings and lost his sixth consecutive game since winning his first three starts. Yohander Mendez closed out the game with two scoreless and hitless innings to earn his third save of the season.

Dustin Fowler connected for two hits in his return from the disabled list and Vince Conde extended hit hitting streak to 11 games with a single in the second, despite the losing effort.

The RiverDogs continue their three-game series with the Hickory Crawdads at 11 a.m. Wednesday. Charleston will send RHP Matt Wotherspoon (0-0, 6.23 ERA) to the mound against RHP Cody Buckel (0-1, 1.80 ERA) for the Crawdads.