Late-game surge not enough for RiverDogs

The Charleston RiverDogs needed to overcome a three-run deficit and a power outage on Wednesday evening, but the Hickory Crawdads scored in their last at-bat for a 5-3 win in front of 2,723 fans at Joe Riley Park in South Atlantic League action.

The RiverDogs are now 20-18, while the Crawdads improved to 17-21. Also, Mike Ford's rally-starting single in the sixth inning extended his on-base streak to 11 straight games.

Hickory was aided by errors as the Crawdads took a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Ryan Cordell reached on an error and reached third base after a stolen base with a throwing error. Ronald Guzman's single scored Cordell to put Hickory in front. Guzman stole second base and scored after a single from Travis Demerrite.

A sixth-inning home run pushed Hickory's lead to 3-0. RiverDogs southpaw Ian Clarkin had retired 11 straight batters but gave up a solo home run to Demerrite. Clarkin finished six innings of work with only one earned run allowed and he struck out four Crawdads.

Charleston rallied to tie the game at 3-3 in its half of the sixth. Tyler Wade's leadoff double preceded a pair of strikeouts from Hickory's Kelvin Vasquez. Ford followed with a single that brought in Wade, who slid around a tag attempt to get the RiverDogs on the scoreboard. Michael O'Neill extended the inning with his own single before Miguel Andujar and John Murphy each produced run-scoring singles that evened the score.

Despite the rally, the action slowed down in the seventh inning due to a power outage. The lights went out with two outs and a 1-1 count to Hickory shortstop Michael De Leon. After a 21-minute delay, De Leon grounded out on the first pitch of the game's resumption.

In the final inning, the Crawdads broke the tie with two outs to claim the victory. The second out came on a sacrifice fly from De Leon that brought in Jairo Beras for the go-ahead score. Evan Van Hoosier responded with a home run that stretched the lead to 5-3. In the bottom of the inning, Cody Kendall walked the potential tying runs but kept the RiverDogs scoreless.

Kendall's win pushed his record to 3-2. Omar Luis is 1-1 for Charleston following the loss.

Middle Child Awareness Night highlighted famous middle children that overcame the potential woes of being stuck between siblings. The Beech Hill Jugglers entertained the fans with several on-field routines at the game. Doby's Deck was filled with folks from Lowcountry Red Cross.

Game two of the three-game series is scheduled to start at 7:05 p.m. Thursday with Charleston LHP Caleb Smith (3-2, 0.84 ERA) squaring off against Hickory LHP Frank Lopez (3-1, 1.38 ERA).