Rony Bautista gave up a run over a career-high five and two-thirds innings, but the offense couldn’t back him and the Charleston RiverDogs fell to the Kannapolis Intimidators, 2-0, in the series opener Wednesday night at Joe Riley Park.
Michael Danner finally cracked through for Kannapolis (7-7 second half, 42-41 overall) and ended Bautista’s (3-2) no-hit bid with a base hit to lead off the fifth. Danner stole second and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt.
Louie Lechich lifted a fly ball down the left-field line, and Chris Breen made the catch running into the wall behind the Kannapolis bullpen. However, Danner was able to score easily on the sacrifice fly, which gave the Intimidators a 1-0 lead and kept the 2,817 on in attendance in their seats with nothing to cheer for.
The RiverDogs (5-9, 39-45) had a golden opportunity to score in the bottom of the seventh. Angel Aguilar started the inning off with a ground-rule double that skipped over the wall in left. Chris Breen singled to left and then stole second. Bo Thompson drew a walk to load the bases with no outs.
Kelvis Valerio entered the game in relief of the starter, Thad Lowry (9-4). He struck out Alexander Palma and Ryan Lindemuth, and then Collin Slaybaugh bounced out back to the pitcher to end the threat. Charleston finished the game 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left the bases loaded twice in the tilt.
Kannapolis tacked on one more insurance run in the top of the ninth. Louis Silverio hit a double to lead off the inning, and then Eddy Alvarez drew a one-out walk two batters later. After a Lechich popout, Alexander Simon hit a single to right field and Silverio dodged the tag attempt by the catcher Slaybaugh to score.
Valerio pitched three scoreless innings and worked around Bo Thompson’s two-out single in the ninth to shut the door on the R’Dogs. Valerio earned his fourth save of the season.
The Pinewood Prep state championship girl’s soccer team was honored with a pregame ceremony on the field. Charlie T. RiverDog showed off his best yoga moves, much to the delight of the fans in attendance. “Pony Hops” also provided laughs, as one group of contestants wiped out in the first 10 seconds of the race. A shark and a corn stalk taught fans some new dance moves in between the eighth and ninth innings.
The RiverDogs continue their five-game home series against Kannapolis at 7:05 p.m. Thursday. Charleston will send RHP Jordan Foley (2-2, 3.38 ERA) to the mound against RHP Luis Martinez (3-7, 5.80 ERA) for the Intimidators.