RiverDogs 7, Braves 6
At this rate, the Charleston RiverDogs might never bat in the ninth inning.
Jesus Montero's three-run double combined with a throwing error to clear the bases in the eighth inning and send the RiverDogs to a 7-6 victory over the Rome Braves in front of a Friday night crowd of 6,012 in Riley Park.
"It's unbelievable to win today," Montero said. "We were down and then we're up. Everybody played today for the win."
In five home games, Charleston (8-1) has yet to need its final at-bat to close out a game, but the Braves (4-5) put that streak to the test with a five-run first-inning that featured six singles and an error against Charleston starter Adam Olbrychowski.
Rome starter Eric Barrett kept Charleston in check, giving up only one run in 4 2/3 innings. Justin Snyder, who was 3-for-3 with two walks and three runs scored, hit a solo homer in the seventh to trim the lead to 6-2.
The fun started with one out in the bottom of the eighth when Carmen Angelini and Austin Krum hit back-to-back doubles to cut the margin to 6-3. With two out, Snyder and Wady Rufino walked to load the bases for Montero, who worked the count full against reliever Tommy Palica (1-1). Montero found the pitch he wanted and ripped a ground ball down the left-field line to easily drive in two runs. Rufino was headed home when left fielder Cody Johnson overthrew the plate into the dugout. With the ball out of play, Montero was automatically awarded home plate.
Charleston manager Torre Tyson said during the preseason that this was a team that explode for big innings at any time.
"It seems like every guy on this team wants to be in that position with the bases loaded. We had the right guy up though," he said. "It goes back to (Montero's) personality. He's very relaxed and those are the guys who seem to excel in those situations."
Montero was 2-for-4 with four RBIs.
Tyson also was quick to praise relief pitchers Wilkins de la Rosa and Craig Heyer (1-0) "for saving us." The two combined to pitch 4 2/3 innings and allowed only one hit and a run. "They gave us a chance to come back," Tyson said.
Jonathan Ortiz pitched the final inning to earn his third save.
One of the new between-inning games for the fans is the Diaper Derby, in which two contestants race strollers to a changing station to get a dirty diaper off of a doll and race back with a clean change. Given the authority with which the diapers are coming off of the dolls, it's a good thing real infants are not being used.
The RiverDogs and Braves play the second game of their series today at 7:05 p.m. The first 1,000 fans through the gates will receive a Pope Soap on a Rope — a souvenir that bears the likeness of Pope Benedict XVI.
The starting pitchers are scheduled to be RiverDogs righthander Zach McAllister (1-0, 0.00 ERA) and Rome lefty Steven Evarts (1-0, 0.00).
E—Johnson, Snyder, Angelini 2. LOB—Rome 7, Riverdogs 10. 2B—Freeman, Montero, Laird 2, Angelini, Krum. HR—Snyder. SF—Rodriguez. SB— Miles, Snyder. CS—Dominguez.
Reach Bill Henley at 937-5595 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.