ROME, GA - Luis Severino's quest for his first win of the season ended on Thursday afternoon as the Dominican right-hander tossed a quality start and the Charleston RiverDogs closed out a 6-2 victory over the Rome Braves at State Mutual Stadium in South Atlantic League action.
Charleston's record is now 17-15 while Rome slips to 10-23. This three-game series is now tied at one win each with the rubber game set for Friday evening.
Severino retired the first seven batters that he faced and recorded five shutout innings to open his quality start. He scattered a pair of singles in the third and fourth before retiring the side with a fly out, strikeout, and groundout in the fifth.
As Severino kept Rome off the scoreboard, Charleston built a lead behind its starter. Mike Ford started the second inning with a leadoff single. After a fly out, singles by Michael O'Neill and Tyler Wade loaded the bases for Kale Sumner. A walk to Sumner scored Ford and put the RiverDogs in front at 1-0.
Charleston added to its lead in the fourth inning, increasing the advantage 3-0. With Wade on second base and Sumner on first, John Murphy singled to drive in Wade and chase Rome's Chuck Buchanan out of the contest. Colby Holmes replaced Buchanan but immediately allowed a run-scoring single to Abiatal Avelino that scored Sumner for a three-run edge.
Rome finally touched Severino for a pair of runs in the sixth. A leadoff single by Connor Oliver was quickly followed by a Blake Brown double. Jacob Schrader scored Oliver on a groundout to cut Charleston's lead to two. Later in the inning with two outs and Brown at third, Victor Reyes legged out an infield single that allowed Brown to score and close the gap to 3-2.
In the final innings, the RiverDogs protected their lead and gained a 6-2 advantage. Charleston loaded the bases with one out in the eighth for Aaron Judge, who hit a sacrifice fly to center field that brought in Sumner. During the ninth, Avelino and Brandon Thomas drew back-to-back bases-loaded walks for a pair of insurance runs and a four-run lead.
On the mound, Cesar Vargas pitched two perfect innings of relief behind Severino and Stefan Lopez quickly retired the side in the ninth inning to lock down a series-evening triumph.
Severino has an even 1-1 record over seven starts after earning the victory. In each of his last four starts, Severino has pitched at least five innings and allowed two earned runs or less. Buchanan was tagged with the loss and falls to 1-3 this season.
COMING UP: The finale in this three-game RiverDogs road trip will be played at 7pm on Friday evening. Charleston LHP Ian Clarkin (1-0, 0.00) is scheduled to pitch against Rome RHP Carlos Salazar (1-3, 10.38 ERA). A seven-game RiverDogs homestand begins on Saturday, May 10 with a "Tony the Peanut Man" Singing Bobblehead Giveaway, courtesy of WCSC Channel 5, and another Social Media Saturday. 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/1j6Z7vm
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.