CHARLESTON, SC - Dalton Blaser finished 2-for-3 with 3 RBI as the Charleston RiverDogs ended their four-game losing streak with a 5-1 victory over the Columbia Fireflies on Saturday in front of 4,782 fans at Joe Riley Park.
The Charleston (18-23) first baseman hit a hard grounder into hole on the left side for an infield knock that gave the RiverDogs their first lead, 3-1, and capped a three-run rally. Pablo Olivares was plated and center fielder Leonardo Molina, who advanced into scoring position on a pop up to the catcher in the previous at-bat, hustled around to score from second on the infield hit.
Molina finished with three hits of his own, driving in the tying run and scoring a pair. Molina had his 12-game hit streak snapped on Friday but raised his average to a season-best .250 with his 3-for-4 effort on Saturday.
Starting pitcher Alexander Vargas (2-0) went six innings, allowing an unearned run on five hits. The right-hander struck out four Fireflies (22-19), throwing 51 of his 76 pitches for strikes.
Righty Kyle Zurak threw a pair of scoreless frames and had two punch outs out of the pen. The Dogs sent their third right-hander to the bump in the ninth as Chad Martin issued a walk but closed out the contest without allowing a run.
Martin is yet to surrender an earned run this season. He has struck out 16 in 16 2/3 innings.
Charleston tacked on two runs in the eighth to clinch the victory. With one out, catcher Eduardo Navas drilled an RBI knock before Blaser drove in his third of the game on a sac fly.
The four-run victory was the largest margin between the Dogs and Fireflies this season, with the previous six meetings being separated by two runs or less. Charleston owns the season series lead, 4-3. The RiverDogs can salvage the four-game split with a win on Sunday before hitting the road for eight games.
The minor leaguers weren't the only athletes at The Joe on Saturday as the RiverDogs hosted the 15th annual Run Charlie Run 5K presented by Fleet Feet Sport. 291 runners competed and there was a winners' ceremony after the race. Alex Dahlstrom (16:21.3) was the male overall winner and Cara Butcher (20:45.7) led all female competitors. Christopher Coghlan (21:17.6) and Mary Mauldin (24:04.0) led the male and female masters categories.
It was also Military Appreciation Night presented by Bank of America in conjunction with NASH and Fox 24. Active and former military were honored throughout the night, and the nightcap was a home run derby with active members competing.
The Sunday series finale of this four-game weekend set will begin at 5:05 as right-hander Rony Garcia (1-2, 4.50) will take the hill for the RiverDogs. Sunday's broadcast will be televised locally on MyTV (Channel 36 over air and satellite and channel 13 on cable) and simulcasting on 1250 WTMA in the tri-county area. There will be online streaming audio also available worldwide on riverdogs.com, through the RiverDogs TuneIn radio app and on MiLB.tv.
RiverDogs single-game tickets, including options to the Riley Park Club, are now available for the 2018 campaign, the club's 25th season as the RiverDogs and their "175th season in dog years." Ticket information can be secured by contacting the box office at (843) 577-DOGS (3647) or online at www.riverdogs.com/tickets.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.