ROME, GA - Following a rocky first start after returning from an injury last week, Daniel Bies was moved to the bullpen in switch up of Charleston's talented rotation, but the big right-hander didn't let it faze him. Bies rolled through four near-perfect innings to close out his first South Atlantic League save as the RiverDogs hung on 3-2 over Rome to even the series and secure a first-place spot in the division for a 40th consecutive day on Tuesday night at State Mutual Stadium.
Bies was terrific in relief, coming on with a one-run lead and retiring nine in a row out of the gates before allowing an infield hit to first baseman Griffin Benson to add some tension to start the ninth inning. Benson lined a one-hopper off Bies' glove that the Gonzaga product tried to run down and underhand flip to first to no avail.
Bies went on to retire the next three in a row to end the ballgame. Last year's seventh-round pick faced one over the minimum while striking out six of 13 hitters faced to garner a well-earned save. The strong finish marked a return to form for the Washington state native who had allowed five runs on nine hits last Tuesday in Greensboro following a stint on the injured list. The victory ensured the RiverDogs (35-30) at least a half game lead on Lexington heading into Wednesday with five games left before the All-Star break.
The entirety of Charleston's offense on the night came from one big swing by All-Star first baseman Mickey Gasper in the third. The New Hampshire product worked a 2-0 count with two away against Rome (27-37) starter Gabriel Noguera (2-4) before depositing the offering into the Braves' bullpen in left for a 3-0 lead. Shortstop Eduardo Torrealba reached on an error and Anthony Seigler walked to set up the scoring opportunity that led to the three unearned runs scoring.
Alexander Vizcaino (4-2) set the tone for the RiverDogs early, allowing some hard contact here and there but finishing five innings, good enough for his fourth win. After holding Rome to just one hit the first time through the order, the Braves came out in the fourth to rattle off five straight singles against him, including RBI knocks from catcher Logan Brown and Benson that pulled the homestanding nine within a run. Vizcaino kept the lead intact, however, striking out Darling Florentino and coaxing a double play ball back to the mound out of shortstop Carlos Paraguate to limit the damage to just two runs.
With friends and family flocking to the ballpark from nearby Cartersville, Georgia, the Yankees' first-rounder Seigler collected his first RiverDogs hit with a single in the fifth. Last year's 23rd overall selection finished 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. Gasper reached base in three of four trips, including a pair of walks and his fifth home run of the season.
Charleston goes for the series win as they wrap up their three-game swing in Georgia, facing the Braves in a Wednesday afternoon finale at 1:00 p.m. from State Mutual Stadium. 20-year-old right-hander Harold Cortijo (1-0, 3.60) will make his second start with the RiverDogs after holding Asheville to two runs over five innings of work last Thursday at The Joe in his debut. The Braves will counter with another 20-year-old righty, Jose Olague (5-4, 3.64).
Catch the game online streaming only on the RiverDogs' TuneIn Radio app. Fans can "Make Fun" with the RiverDogs all season long down at The Joe. Single-game tickets, including options to the Riley Park Club, are available at riverdogs.com/tickets or by contacting the RiverDogs front office at 843-577-3647 (DOGS). A full schedule and list of game times for the 2019 season is available at riverdogs.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.