The Charleston RiverDogs and the Lexington Legends both got outstanding efforts from their starting pitchers Sunday afternoon at Joe Riley Park, so it all came down to the teams' respective bullpens.
Charleston's carried the day.
Charleston rallied to beat Lexington 7-6 on Taylor Grote's run-scoring double with two out in the 12th inning in front of a crowd of 2,855, but give credit to a bullpen that held the Legends in check.
"For most of these guys, it's just their first or second appearance of the season," said RiverDogs' manager Greg Colbrunn. "But we had guys give us some good innings, so hopefully that's a sign of good things to come."
Things looked a little bleak for the RiverDogs after the five-run sixth by the Legends put Lexington ahead 6-1, but relievers Ryan Acosta, Ryan Flannery and Franciso Rondon combined to no-hit Lexington for five consecutive innings while the RiverDogs battled back and eventually won the game.
Charleston tied it with three runs in the eighth and two in the ninth.
Grote won it with his double down the right field line in the 12th.
"I was just looking for a pitch I could handle," Grote said. "I was lucky to enough to battle after getting two strikes and finally get a pitch I could put in play."
Charleston's victory evened the season-opening South Atlantic League series 2-2.
Both starting pitchers probably deserved better.
Lexington's Jose Cisnero nursed a 1-0 lead through four and two thirds innings, allowing two hits, but exited in the fifth with runners on first and second after giving up back-to-back walks.
Charleston's Emerson Landoni singled off reliever Wander Alvino to tie the game 1-1, leaving Cisnero a no decision after four and third innings of two-hit baseball with two walks and seven strikeouts.
RiverDogs' starter Jose Ramirez gave up one run on four hits through five innings, but ran into trouble in the sixth, and was responsible for two of the Legends' five runs in the inning.
Lexington's Grant Hogue struck the big blow of the inning with a two-out, two-run triple off Charleston reliever Gabriel Tatis.
Ramirez' final line showed three runs on six hits through five-plus innings with no walks and six strikeouts.
Trailing 6-1, Charleston rallied with three runs in the eighth highlighted by a two-run single by Rob Lyerly.
The RiverDogs had the bases loaded with two out, but Lexington reliever Michael Shurz retired Zoilo Almonte on a grounder to first to end the inning.
E--Landoni 2. DP--Riverdogs 1. LOB--Legends 6, RiverDogs 10. 2B--Goebert, Landoni 2, Grote. 3B--Hogue. SF--Paredes. SB--Hogue. CS--Meyer.
WP--Sarisky, Rodon. HBP--by Ramirez (Fixler, Martinez) by Tatis (Fixler). T--3:38. Att: 2,855.
The RiverDogs (1-3) begin a four-game home series today with the West Virginia Pirates with game one set for 7:05 p.m. Hunter Strickland (0-1, 9.00 ERA) is the scheduled starter for West Virginia while Shaeffer Hall (0-0, 0.00 ERA) is the scheduled starter for Charleston.