The Charleston RiverDogs outlasted Mother Nature and took down the Delmarva Shorebirds, 8-7, in front of 5,654 fans Friday night at Joe Riley Park.
Following a near two-hour rain delay the bats for both sides came out swinging in the first inning of the series finale. Delmarva’s (16-12 in the second half, 49-47 overall) Ademar Rifaela greeted Justin Kamplain with a solo home run on the second pitch of the ballgame and put the Shorebirds in front early.
The RiverDogs (10-18 in the second half, 44-54 overall) responded with a five-run first inning of their own; a frame in which all of the damage occurred with two outs. Matthew Grimes retires the first two via strikeouts in the first before the rain picked up and Bo Thompson stepped in. The first baseman drew a walk and Isaias Tejeda followed with a single, which put two on with the two out.
Alexander Palma delivered a two-run double to left and stole third. Ryan Lindemuth and Radley Haddad both walked to load the bases for Griff Gordon. The newest RiverDog plated a pair made it 4-1 with a single to left, his second hit of the season with Charleston, and ended Grimes’ night on the mound. Derek Toadvine was first to face the new pitcher Nick Cunningham and drove in the fifth run of the inning with an infield single.
Delmarva bounced back and scored four runs across the third and fourth innings to tie the game at 5-5. Cameron Kneeland took a Kamplain pitch over the wall in left-center for a two-run shot and cut the RiverDogs’ lead to 5-3. In the fourth it was two RBI doubles by Oswill Lartiguez and Rifaela that tied the game.
Charleston took 6-5 lead when Toadvine scored from second on a Cunningham wild pitch in the fourth.
The score held until the seventh when Delmarva tied it again on a bases loaded walk from RiverDogs righty Andre Del Bosque. Although he blew the save, Del Bosque (6-4) would be bailed out when the offense scored two more runs and took the lead for good in the bottom half of the inning.
Jorge Mateo drove home Vince Conde with a single against Mike Burke (0-2) to make it 7-6. He then stole second, took third and scored on a two-base throwing error by Shorebirds catcher Yermin Mercedes.
Angel Rincon came on in the eighth for the two-inning save and earned his second save of the season, despite giving up a run in his first inning.
Although the game was indeed official, the RiverDogs were unable to shoot off Friday’s scheduled fireworks show. The fireworks show has been moved to Saturday’s game. As a result the RiverDogs will honor tickets for Friday’s game as rain checks. Fans with tickets for Friday’s game that were inconvenienced by the weather will be able to use their ticket for another RiverDogs game of their choice, including Saturday.
A large crowd gathered to celebrate the 40 years of service of Charleston mayor and the facility’s namesake. The first 1,000 fans received commemorative figurines of Mayor Joe Riley and Bill Murray’s memorable embrace. There also was a tribute to Mayor Riley on the video board prior to the game. The mayor himself threw out his final first pitch as mayor of Charleston and it was a strike caught by Jorge Mateo.
The RiverDogs begin a four-game series against Greenville at 6:05 p.m. Saturday. Charleston will send RHP Matt Wotherspoon (2-1, 3.89 ERA) to the mound against LHP Jalen Beeks (8-4, 4.29 ERA) for the Drive.