Thomas' blast lifts R'Dogs

Brandon Thomas' two-run homer in the sixth inning was a critical blast in a 5-4 Charleston RiverDogs victory over the Rome Braves on Sunday in front of 4,002 fans at Riley Park in South Atlantic League baseball.

Charleston (30-27 second half, 63-64 overall) split a four-game series with Rome and also went 5-2 over a seven-game homestand.

The Braves (25-32, 49-78) were eliminated from second-half postseason contention.

Abiatal Avelino scored a run without the benefit of a hit in the bottom of the first inning. Avelino was hit by a pitch to open the frame. He advanced to second base on a wild pitch while Tyler Wade was batting and reached third on a Mike Ford groundout. A passed ball allowed Avelino to score and put Charleston in front, 1-0.

Back-to-back doubles in the third inning boosted Charleston's lead to 2-0. Following two strikeouts from Rome's Matt Marksberry, Avelino doubled and scored on a double by Wade.

Thomas opened the bottom of the fourth with a walk and ended up at third base on a stolen base and an error. Thomas crossed home plate after a passed ball.

Thomas cushioned the RiverDogs' lead with a two-run blast that gave Charleston a 5-3 lead in the sixth. Yeicok Calderon walked ahead of Thomas, who drilled a homer to right field. It was Thomas' fifth home run of the season and his second during this homestand.

Homers in the seventh and eighth innings carried the Braves back to within a run. Lien launched a one-out solo shot in the seventh, his fifth of the season. Sal Giardina provided his second professional homer during the eighth, cutting the RiverDogs' lead to 5-4.

The RiverDogs followed the victory by signing autographs on the final CCPRC and Crews Subaru Kids Club Sunday. The RiverDogs also wore their snazzy seersucker uniforms for the last time on Seersucker Sunday. Dancin' with the ' Dogs featured in-game dance routines by the Magnolia Dance Academy. Promotions intern Ashley McCallen received a special going-away present during her final game - a pie in the face for the Desano Pizza Bakery Pie of the Game.

Charleston is idle on Monday before starting a six-game road trip at the Greenville Drive on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. RiverDogs RHP Rookie Davis is scheduled to start the road trip opener.