CHARLESTON, SC - A two-run home run from Miguel Andujar and Ian Clarkin's five shutout innings in his team debut created an early lead, and the Charleston RiverDogs held back late threats from the Delmarva Shorebirds to claim a 6-5 win on Saturday evening in front of 3,596 fans at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park in South Atlantic League action.
The RiverDogs climb back to .500 at 14-14 as Delmarva drops to 13-15. This four-game series is now tied with one win apiece.
Luc Rennie matched Clarkin through the first few innings until a RiverDogs rally in the fourth. Abiatal Avelino hit a leadoff double and came in after a two-out single by Mike Ford. Andujar followed with a two-run home run, his first blast of the season, to put Charleston up 3-0.
Delmarva was scoreless until the sixth inning when a pair of runs against Omar Luis cut the difference to 3-2. Justin Viele got the Shorebirds on the board when he scored on a double play. After the twin killing, Trey Mancini brought in Gregory Lorenzo with a double to bring the Shorebirds within one.
Charleston matched Delmarva's runs in the home half of the sixth. Another two-out single from Ford extended the inning while Andujar reached on an error. A double by Michael O'Neill scored Ford for a 4-2 RiverDogs lead. The advantage became 5-2 when Andujar scored on a passed ball.
Both teams scored in the seventh inning as the contest remained close. Alex Murphy's ground rule double pushed in Austin Wynns before Hector Veloz scored on a Mike Yastrzemski single, slicing the deficit to 5-4. Avelino singled to score Gosuke Katoh and bump the Charleston lead to 6-4 during the bottom of the inning.
In the eighth inning, the Shorebirds threatened to take the lead. With two outs and the bases loaded, Wynns was forced in when Viele was hit by a pitch. Charleston's Stefan Lopez relieved Luis and needed 12 pitches to garner an inning-ending strikeout against Yastrzemski. Lopez followed with a perfect ninth inning to clinch a 6-5 RiverDogs victory.
Clarkin wins his 2014 debut and is 1-0 this season after five shutout innings with five strikeouts. Rennie was charged with the loss and falls to 0-3. Lopez earned his first save of the year.
BALLPARK FUN: Former Clemson football players Tajh Boyd and Quandon Christian each threw out a ceremonial first pitch, mingled with fans, and signed autographs at Saturday's contest. Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church highlighted Greek Heritage Night at The Joe, featuring pregame and in-game dance routines from the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church Dance Ministry. Fans can use their tickets from Saturday's game to receive free entry into the 44th Annual Charleston Greek Festival, held Friday, May 9 through Sunday, May 11.
COMING UP: Game three of this four-game set is scheduled for 5:05pm on Sunday. RiverDogs LHP Caleb Smith (2-1, 0.84 ERA) will pitch against Shorebirds RHP Austin Urban (1-2, 6.89 ERA). It's another CCPRC and Crews Subaru Kids Club Sunday, including Kids Eat Free from Pepsi, free parking for the contest, and all members of Charlie's Kids Club get in free. The RiverDogs will wear their seersucker uniforms on Seersucker Sunday and celebrity "Smokin' Chef" Michael Saboe is making pulled pork sundaes. Join the Ancient Order of Hibernians and enjoy Irish Heritage Night, too. Tickets may be purchased at the Riley Park Box Office, (843) 577-DOGS (3647) or on-line at www.riverdogs.com. If fans cannot make it to the ballpark, they are encouraged to tune in to all the action this year both home and away worldwide on www.riverdogs.com and locally on 1250 WTMA, the new radio home for RiverDogs baseball.
Box Score: http://atmilb.com/1lMKiDt