CHARLESTON, S.C. - Josh Stowers lined a walk off single in the bottom of the 10th inning to lift Charleston to a 3-2 win in ten innings over the Columbia Fireflies in the Monday night series opener in front of 4,207 at Joe Riley Park.
All three of the Dogs' (62-58, 25-25) runs were scored in the ninth inning on, marking just the third time in 45 tries that the Holy City won despite trailing after eight innings. Frederick Cuevas led off the ninth with a double to the left field corner, cut off by Guillermo Granadillo who made it a close play at second with a strong throw back into the infield. A great bunt laid down by Oliver Dunn moved Cuevas to third, and a wild pitch uncorked by Allan Winans allowed the Dogs left fielder to scamper home and tie the game at one.
Columbia (47-69, 23-27) took the lead in the top of the tenth, on a double by Granadillo down the left field line that plated Hayden Senger. Charleston tied it back up in the bottom of the frame at two, when Brandon Lockridge laid down a perfect bunt along the third base line, and Shervyen Newton threw the ball wide of first base, allowing Eduardo Torrealba to score. Oswald Peraza came through behind Lockridge, lining a single to center field to put runners on the corners with none out for the newly returned Josh Breaux.
The DH saw six pitches before watching a 3-2 offering for strike three. Josh Stowers picked up his teammate, though, working a 2-2 count before driving Winans' pitch through the hole on the left side, driving Lockridge home and giving Charleston its 13th win in 19 games against the Mets' affiliate. For Stowers, the single marked his second walk off hit this season, and his first since May 15 when he lined an 11th-inning single to beat the West Virginia Power.
Not to be lost in the late-inning heroics, Jhony Brito was phenomenal in his sixth start of the season. The lone marker allowed by Brito came in the top of the fifth inning, when Jose Medina reached on a throwing error by third baseman Oliver Dunn. Medina chopped a slow grounder to third, but Dunn's throw was a bit too low for Eric Wagaman to pick out of the dirt. Later during the following at-bat with Hayden Senger at the plate, the righty stopped his delivery and was called for a balk, which forced Medina to second base.
Senger eventually drew the only free pass of the night issued by Brito, and Chandler Avant dropped a perfect sacrifice bunt down between Brito and Charleston's catcher Ryan Lidge to force the runners to second and third with just one away, setting the table for Guillermo Granadillo. The left fielder skied the first pitch he saw to right field, deep enough for Medina to scamper home with the first run of the game.
Other than the unearned tally in the fifth, Brito was dominated the Dogs' in-state rivals. The right-hander threw seven innings, marking a new career-high, and fanned four with just two hits and the one walk allowed. Brito, who entered Monday with the third-fewest walks per nine in the league with a 1.31 mark, now has allowed just 12 walks in 82 2/3 innings this season. He has not walked more than one hitter in any of his first 19 appearances of the season, and has issued just 23 free passes in 145 1/3 career innings.
Carlos Espinal relieved Brito in the eighth and fired three innings of one-run ball, allowing just two hits and fanning four. The victory marked the 11th in the last 14 games overall for the Dogs, and the third in Charleston's last four games to stretch beyond nine innings after the Holy City started the year 1-6 in extra innings.
Just when you thought the RiverDogs couldn't get any dumber, they go and pull a theme like those in attendance experienced on Monday night. In honor of the famous film Dumb and Dumber's 25th anniversary, Charleston pulled out all the stops as part of the 'Dumbest Night of the Year' to celebrate the occasion. The players wore special jerseys that resembled the van seen in the movie, which were available as part of an online auction after the game. The Holy City staff members even got the van itself out to Riley Park for fans to see and take pictures with. It was also the second-to-last Monday Dog Day presented by Busch Light of the season, and there were water bowls, and even a kiddie pool, set up throughout the concourse to pander to man's best friend. Many fans also congregated up on the Ashley View Pub and enjoyed $1 beers and $1 hot dogs.
The RiverDogs continue their brief three-game homestand with game two Tuesday night, looking to keep the momentum rolling following the walk-off win Monday evening. Right-hander Luis Medina (1-8, 6.49) will have the starting assignment, looking to continue his best stretch of the season. Since July 11, the Yankees' No. 21 overall prospect (MLB Pipeline) has thrown 23 innings and allowed just nine runs, including a pair of scoreless outings against Delmarva and Rome. Columbia will send righty Colin Holderman (3-1, 3.98) to toe the slab, who will be making his third start against the Dogs this season. In his previous two, he held the Dogs to three runs in 9 1/3 innings.
For those who can't make it to Riley Park, catch the game on WTMA 1250 AM in the tri-county area, online streaming on the TuneIn Radio app and on MiLB.tv with a subscription. 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 are available at riverdogs.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.