The Charleston RiverDogs exploded for seven runs in the sixth inning, highlighted by an Allen Valerio three-run homer, and cruised to an 8-0 victory over the Augusta GreenJackets on Wednesday in front of 6,072 fans, most of them school children, on Education Day at Joe Riley Park.
Valerio’s home run hit off the top of the wall in left-center field and bounced over. The dinger chased Augusta’s (3-4) starting pitcher Matt Gage from the game, who gave up five runs in 5 1/3 innings pitched and took the loss.
The RiverDogs (4-3) did not put a runner on base the first time through the batting order against Gage (0-1). Avelino led off the bottom of the fourth with a base hit, stole second and was brought home on a base hit by Connor Spencer.
With one out in the sixth inning, Charleston’s offense exploded. Conner Spencer drove Jorge Mateo home with an RBI single. Valerio followed with his three-run homer to left-center. Later in the inning, Brandon Thomas hit an RBI double and Javier blasted a single up the middle, scoring two more runs. At the end of the sixth, the RiverDogs led 8-0 with seven runs on eight hits coming in the marathon inning.
Charleston starting pitcher Chaz Hebert (1-1) held Augusta scoreless and had to work out of jams in the fourth and fifth innings. Augusta loaded the bases in the fourth and had runners on second and third in the fifth, but Hebert kept his composure and was able to retire the side on strikeouts in both innings. The lefty picked up his first win of the season and struck out eight batters in the game.
Eight of the nine players in the RiverDogs’ lineup got a hit in the game and eight of nine scored a run as well. Joey Maher recorded the save, entering the game with the score 1-0 and throwing four innings of shutout baseball.
The loudest applause from the boisterous, young crowd of over 6,000 was for the mascot Charlie T. RiverDog.
The RiverDogs hit the road for the first time in the 2015 season for a four-game series at Savannah and a three-game series at Augusta. Thursday night’s game at Grayson Stadium begins at 7:05 p.m. LHP Justin Kamplain (1-0) will get his second start for the RiverDogs and will be up against LHP Brad Wieck (0-1).