Starting pitcher Joey Maher held the Hickory Crawdads scoreless in 5 1/3 innings and only gave up three hits, leading the Charleston RiverDogs to a 3-2 victory in front of 4,696 fans Friday night at Joe Riley Park.
The RiverDogs (14-8) gave Maher (1-0) a run of support early in the game when Angel Aguilar hit a solo home run to left-center field in the second inning. Aguilar, who was added to the roster before Tuesday’s game at Asheville, has already hit two home runs in his first four games with Charleston.
In the sixth inning, the RiverDogs added to their lead by playing some small ball. Abiatal Avelino led off the inning with a single and was advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Jorge Mateo. Then, Avelino stole third and came home when Dustin Fowler ripped a single that ricocheted off first baseman Ronald Guzman. Charleston added another run in the seventh inning on a sacrifice fly by Gosuke Katoh.
Yoel Espinal and Caleb Frare combined for 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. Hickory (15-6) had runners on second and third with no outs in the sixth inning and then loaded them up with two outs, but Maher and Espinal combined to strike out the side in the inning to keep the Crawdads off the board.
Cale Coshow earned his South Atlantic League-leading sixth save of the season, but Hickory did not make it easy. The Crawdads hit four two-out singles in a row to score two runs, but they left two runners stranded on base as Coshow struck out Luke Tendler to end the game.
The RiverDogs kicked off their third homestand of the season with an ISHPI Red Shirt Friday. The night in the stands was highlighted by a one-pawed catch of a foul ball by Charlie T. RiverDog. The mascot was standing in an upper reserved section along the first base line and made the grab as it trickled off the roof, back to the seating bowl. The postgame fireworks celebration was capped off with a “pyrotechnic salute” of Mayor Joe Riley, which said, “Thanks Joe,” in fireworks out in front of the right-field wall.
The RiverDogs continue their four-game series with the Crawdads on Saturday night at The Joe. Charleston will send LHP Justin Kamplain (1-2, 3.68) to the hill against Hickory’s LHP Brett Martin (1-0, 2.57).