Angel Aguilar hit a double to left and Dustin Fowler charged around the bases from first to score the winning run, sending the Charleston RiverDogs to the 4-3 walk-off victory over the West Virginia Power in front of 5,272 fans Thursday night at Joe Riley Park.
The RiverDogs (33-34) rallied from a 3-1 deficit to tie the game with two runs in the bottom of the seventh. Austin Aune and Collin Slaybaugh got the inning started with back-to-back singles. They both advanced into scoring position on a throwing error by the pitcher Sam Street. The righty was attempting to get the force out at third after Bo Thompson bunted a ground ball back to the mound.
Devyn Bolasky plated Aune when he grounded into a double play and moved Slaybaugh up to third. Jorge Mateo drove Slaybaugh home with a ground ball to right field and tied the game 3-3.
Angel Rincon was a star out of the bullpen for Charleston. He came on in relief of Caleb Frare in the eighth, gave up a leadoff single, but used a caught stealing to help him face the minimum in the inning. He then retired the side in order in the eighth, all on 6-3 groundouts, and kept it tied 3-3.
The RiverDogs had an opportunity to win the game in the ninth when the first two men reached on base hits, but the next three went down in order and the game headed to extras. Another perfect frame by Rincon (1-0) in the 10th gave way to the offensive display in the bottom of the inning.
Jorge Mateo began the inning by grounding out to second in front of Fowler, who looped a single over the head of West Virginia’s third baseman. Aguilar followed and ripped a line drive into the left-field corner, and Fowler got on his horse and slid in safely with the game’s winning run.
Charleston wasted no time getting on the board Thursday night. Mateo led off the first inning with a single to left, stole second base and moved to third on a Fowler groundout. After an Angel Aguilar walk, Chris Breen drove in a run on a ground out to third.
With two outs in the top of the third, Jeff Roy reached on an error by third baseman Vince Conde. Roy proceeded to steal second and third base, and then Cole Tucker ripped a double to tie the game at 1-1.
West Virginia (36-31) struck again with two outs in the following inning to take the lead. Pablo Reyes hit a two-run triple and scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch. The Power added to their lead in the top of the fifth. Taylor Gushue hit a one-out triple and Roy walked. After a visit to the mound, Tucker drove in his second run of the game on a sacrifice fly to center.
This was the second time Charleston and West Virginia went to extra innings in the three-game series; the RiverDogs are now 3-1 in extra-inning games. The RiverDogs also take home the season series four games to three.
A moment of silence was held prior to the anthem to remember the victims of this week’s events. The Rev. Bobby Lee Green of the Charleston Metropolitan Church of Christ led the stadium in a moment of remembrance and prayer in the middle of the third. Melissa Milanak sang a stirring rendition of God Bless America during the seventh-inning stretch. Proceeds from the ballgame will be donated to the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund, which was established by the city of Charleston in light of the tragedy. The RiverDogs also paid homage to the Charleston Nine, the nine firefighters who lost their lives on this date in 2007, with a moment of silence and by wearing Charleston Fire Department hats on the field.
The RiverDogs begin a three-game series with the Asheville Tourists at 7:05 p.m. Friday. Charleston will send LHP Conner Kendrick (1-0, 3.60 ERA) to the mound to face RHP Carlos Polanco (2-8, 5.53 ERA) for the Tourists.