AUGUSTA — The Charleston RiverDogs trailed 4-2 heading into the final inning, but rallied to plate three runs in the controversial ninth and took down the Augusta GreenJackets, 5-4, Monday night at Lake Olmstead Stadium.
The win, combined with Asheville’s loss to Hickory, put the RiverDogs (7-4) in sole possession of first place for the first time this season.
Gosuke Katoh led off the ninth with a single to center. Eduardo de Oleo and Austin Aune hit back-to-back singles with one out, the second of which scored Katoh and cut the deficit to 4-3.
Jose Javier was next when controversy stuck. He hit a grounder to third baseman Jonah Arenado, who tried to apply the tag to the lead runner and fire to first to complete the game-ending double play, but the base umpire deemed both runners at the corners safe and the bases were loaded with one down.
The call brought Augusta’s manager Nestor Rojas out to argue, who was ejected. Brandon Thomas polished off the rally with a bloop a single into shallow left that scored both de Oleo and Aune and gave Charleston a 5-4 lead.
Cale Coshow came on in the ninth and retired the GreenJackets (4-6) in order, earning his third save in as many chances.
The RiverDogs jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first as Jorge Mateo drove in Abiatal Avelino from third. Augusta responded with two runs of their own in the second against righty Joey Maher. Designated hitter John Riley and left fielder Andrew Cain drove in a run each, giving the home team the lead.
In the fifth, Aune hit a gift triple that got lost above the lights in center and scored on Javier’s sacrifice fly to tie the game at 2. Sean Carley and Yoel Espinal each gave up a run in their outings, and the GreenJackets held the 4-2 lead until the ninth.
Maher pitched well in his first start of the season, logging four innings. He gave up a pair of runs on four hits, a walk and struck out three. Espinal (1-0) took home the win for his two innings of work. Reyes Moronta (0-1) was charged with the blown save and loss for the GreenJackets.
The RiverDogs and GreenJackets get set for the second game of the three-game series Tuesday at 7 p.m. LHP Justin Kamplain (1-1, 3.60 ERA) gets the start for Charleston and will face off against Augusta’s LHP Nick Gonzalez (0-0, 9.82). Listen to the game at WTMA 1250-AM. The game can also be heard on WTMA.com and RiverDogs.com.
The RiverDogs remain on the road until for two more games before they return home and play host to the Savannah Sand Gnats for a four-plus game series starting Thursday.