A pair of home runs by Reymond Nunez guided the Charleston RiverDogs to a 5-3 victory over the Augusta GreenJackets on Friday night in front of a sellout crowd of 7,024 fans at Riley Park in South Atlantic League action.
This was the second-largest RiverDogs crowd of the season, trailing an attendance of 7,792 on July Fourth against the Rome Braves.
The RiverDogs improved to 13-15 in the second half and 46-52 overall. The GreenJackets fell to 13-16 and 47-50, respectively. Charleston also has won 10 of its last 12 games. It was Nunez's first multi-home run game since Aug. 27 at Greenville.
Nunez gave Charleston a 2-0 lead in the second inning. Gosuke Katoh kept the inning alive with a full-count walk before Nunez came to the plate. On an 0-1 pitch, Nunez tagged Augusta's Chase Johnson with a two-run blast into a Palmetto tree behind the center-field wall.
Augusta rallied to tie the contest at 2-2 during the fourth inning. Chris Lofton, Ryder Jones, and Tyler Ross opened the inning with three straight singles. Lofton scored on the base hit by Ross to cut the difference in half. Jones scored later in the inning after back-to-back force outs.
In the bottom of the fifth, Nunez brought the RiverDogs back in front. Nunez drove the first pitch of the inning over the left-field wall for a go-ahead home run. Mark Payton followed with a walk and advanced to third base after two consecutive groundouts. Payton scored on a wild pitch that gave the RiverDogs a 4-2 lead.
Charleston added an insurance run in the seventh, extending the lead to 5-2. Tyler Wade reached on an infield single and made it to second base on a throwing error. After a strikeout, Miguel Andujar grounded into an error that allowed Wade to score an unearned run.
On the mound, Andy Beresford made his return to the RiverDogs with a solid start. Beresford, who pitched for Charleston back in April, faced the minimum over his first three innings. He allowed just two runs and six hits in five innings to begin his second stint in the Lowcountry. Eric Ruth relieved Beresford with three shutout innings pitched.
Augusta forged a comeback in the ninth but fell two runs short. Back-to-back walks from Philip Walby opened the frame before a groundout pushed Ross and Tyler Horan into scoring position. A walk loaded the bases for Eric Sim, who hit a sacrifice fly that scored Ross. Craig Massoni followed, but he popped out to Walby.
Beresford claimed his first RiverDogs victory and is now 1-0 with Charleston. Johnson dropped to 1-6 following his fifth straight losing decision. Walby pitched the ninth inning and collected his sixth save.
HOPE Week 2014 continued with Mighty Mack and Scout joining the RiverDogs for a special day at the ballpark. Mighty Mack is a 6-year-old boy who suffers from a rare form of leukemia. His 4-year-old sister, Scout, is his bone marrow donor. Dozens of participants in this year's RiverDogs Baseball Camp, sponsored by The Kickin' Chicken, were honored before the game.
Game two of the four-game series is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. Saturday, featuring Charleston LHP Chaz Hebert (0-2, 3.68 ERA) against an Augusta pitcher that has yet to be announced. The RiverDogs will be hosting Disco Demolition 2: You Better Belieb It, which includes a postgame demolition of Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus merchandise, along with Military Appreciation Night from ISHPI.