Catcher Collin Slaybaugh notched another four hits and tallied three RBIs in the Charleston RiverDogs’ come-from-behind 9-6 victory over the Asheville Tourists in the opener of a four-game series Thursday night in front of 4,372 fans at Joe Riley Park.
The RiverDogs (27-27) were trailing 4-0 in the bottom of the seventh when the offense finally came to life. Austin Aune led the inning off with a single off the glove of the second baseman Forrest Wall. Vicente Conde followed with a single and advanced to second while Aune got thrown out trying to advance to third base. Devyn Bolasky reached on a fielding error by shortstop Emerson Jimenez, scoring Conde and chasing relief pitcher Jerad McCrummen from the game.
James Lomangino replaced McCrummen with the RiverDogs trailing 4-1. The first batter he faced, Jorge Mateo, hit a two-run triple to the gap in right-center field. Mateo scored to tie the game 4-4 on a sacrifice fly by Angel Aguilar.
The RiverDogs loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the eighth. Relief pitcher Yoely Bello hit Devyn Bolasky to bring in the go-ahead run for Charleston. The RiverDogs blew the game wide open when Slaybaugh belted a three-run double to right. The catcher scored his second run of the game later in the frame on an RBI single by Connor Spencer.
Slaybaugh, who went 4-for-4 in his RiverDogs debut Wednesday night against Augusta, had another perfect night at the plate. He went 4-for-4 once again with the three-run double, three singles and two runs scored.
Asheville (22-32) got on the board first in the top of the third. Sean Dwyer led off the inning with a base hit and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Robbie Perkins laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Dwyer up to third and Jimenez drove Perkins in with a single to right field.
The Tourists extended their lead to 2-0 in the fourth with more small ball after Josh Fuentes started the inning with a double. Drew Weeks and Wes Rogers both bunted for singles in consecutive at-bats to plate Fuentes.
Max White was the first batter up for Asheville, and he hit a solo home run that snuck inside the right-field foul pole. Wall followed White’s homer with a walk, and he moved up two bases on a passed ball and a wild pitch. Fuentes’ sacrifice fly to left scored Wall to give the Tourists a 4-0 advantage.
Asheville added two more runs in the top of the ninth. With the bases loaded and Shane Hoelscher up to bat, Monolo Reyes threw a wild pitch and Slaybaugh scored. Hoelscher hit a sacrifice fly to make it 9-6.
Reyes (1-0) bounced back after giving up the two runs and got Fuentes to fly out to center to end the game. He pitched 2 2/3 innings of relief to earn his first win of the season. James Lomangino (1-1) was the losing pitcher after blowing the save and allowing Charleston to take the lead in the eighth.
It was another fun Thirsty Thursday at The Joe. DJ Natty Heavy kept fans entertained all night long, spinning popular tunes in the Ashley View Pub. MUSC arrived at The Joe with a special helicopter entrance before the game as the RiverDogs spent the evening raising awareness to Strike Out Stroke.
The RiverDogs continue their four-game series with the Asheville Tourists at 7:05 p.m. Friday. Charleston will send LHP Justin Kamplain (1-6, 3.83 ERA) to the mound against LHP Helmis Rodriguez (3-3, 3.71 ERA) for the Tourists.