CHARLESTON, SC - The Hagerstown Suns (27-16, 71-42) surrendered five runs in the third inning on Sunday evening and never recovered, falling to the Charleston RiverDogs (22-20, 55-57) by a final of 8-1. Despite the loss the Suns still salvaged a 2-2 split of the four-game series in Charleston, making it a month since the last time Hagerstown has lost a series.
The five-run rally in the third inning on Sunday started with two outs, and the biggest hit was a three-run homer off the bat of 1B Mike Ford. It was one of just three hits in the frame, and Hagerstown wound up out-hitting Charleston in the game 11-8. Starting RHP Nick Pivetta (12-7) did not last past that third innings as he suffered the loss for the Suns. In three innings he gave up six earned runs on five hits and one walk while striking out three. Starting RHP Rookie Davis (6-8) earned the win for the RiverDogs. He threw six innings, allowing one earned run on seven hits and two walks while striking out six.
In game three of the series on Saturday evening the Suns pitched their second 1-0 shutout of the series. RHP Reynaldo Lopez, LHP Joseph Webb (4-1), and RHP Sam Johns combined to hold Charleston to five hits. Lopez got the start for Hagerstown and threw five innings, giving up four hits but no walks while striking out three. Webb earned the win for the Suns as he went three innings, allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out four. Johns earned his first save of the year by throwing the bottom of the ninth. RHP Stefan Lopez (1-2) gave up the lone Hagerstown run in the top of the ninth to suffer the loss. That was his only inning of work, and the lone hit he allowed was a solo homerun by Suns 2B Wilmer Difo.
In the second game of the series on Friday night the RiverDogs pushed across three runs in the fifth to break a 1-1 tie, as Charleston went on to win 4-2. Starting RHP Wirkin Estevez (0-1) suffered the loss for the Suns. He threw 4.1 innings, allowing all four earned runs on six hits and one walk while striking out three. RHP Luis Niebla (1-0) picked up the win for the RiverDogs in relief. He threw four innings, surrendering two runs (one earned) on four hits and two walks while striking out two. RHP Angel Rincon pitched the final two innings for Charleston to record his third save of the year.
In game one of the series on Thursday night Hagerstown tossed its ninth shutout of the year, blanking the RiverDogs 1-0. Each team was held to just three hits in the game, with the only difference being that two of the hits for the Suns came in the same inning. That inning was the fourth, and the hits belonged to Difo and catcher Spencer Kieboom, with Kieboom's hit driving in Difo for the only run of the game. Starting RHP Lucas Giolito (7-2) earned his fifth win in his last five decisions by going six innings and surrendering just two hits and one walk while striking out six. RHP Wander Suero pitched three innings of one-hit ball while striking out six to record his third save of the year. Starting LHP Chaz Hebert (1-3) suffered the hard-luck loss for Charleston. He tossed seven innings, allowing one unearned run on two hits and one walk while striking out five.
In total Charleston outscored Hagerstown 12-5 over the course of the series, but the Suns out-hit the RiverDogs 31-27. The Suns next head to Charlestown, West Virginia to begin a three-game series with the West Virginia Power (20-23, 40-71), which starts on Monday, August 4. RHP Wander Suero (3-0) will take the mound for Hagerstown for his second start and 13th appearance for the Suns this season. He will square off against RHP Buddy Borden (5-7) for the Power. First pitch on Monday is scheduled for 7:05pm.