LAKEWOOD, N.J. - After failing to turn a double play that nearly put their comeback hopes to rest, Diego Castillo would prove to be the hero just an inning later as the Charleston second baseman slugged the game-winning two-out, two- strike double to lift the RiverDogs to their fourth straight victory with a 5-4 come-from-behind win over Lakewood on Saturday night at FirstEnergy Park.
With Charleston (50-42, 16-6) trailing 4-2 in the bottom of the eighth, Castillo failed to turn an inning-ending double play chance that instead loaded up the bases. After the blunder, the Venezuelan teenager turned two beautifully on a second chance, taking the ball to second himself off the bat of Daniel Brito before throwing across his body to retire the Lakewood (50-42, 10-12) second baseman and keep the game within two.
In the ninth, Charleston rallied from two down to take the 5-4 lead. New Jersey native Brandon Wagner walked, and the man aboard allowed third baseman Mandy Alvarez to chop a single through the right side to put two on with nobody out. The runners held there before Hoy Jun Park ripped a two out double down the right field line to score Wagner. After fouling off the first two pitches he saw, Castillo cranked his second double of the game, a knock into left-center that scored two and gave Charleston their first lead.
After the RiverDogs fell behind 4-0 after a big fourth inning by Lakewood, Wagner put the RiverDogs on the board in front of friends and family, hammering a 1-0 pitch into the right field berm to cut the deficit to three at 4-1. It was the Hopewell native's second home run in as many days and his fourth over his last nine games that brought his season total up to six. The Howard College product has now gone 26-for-68 (.382) in 19 games since the All-Star break.
Designated hitter Blake Rutherford made it a 4-2 ballgame in the eighth, muscling a one-out single into right field to bring in catcher Eduardo Navas and extend his hitting streak to a season-high ten games. Navas walked for just the second time in 82 plate appearances this season to begin the inning in his first game returning from nearly a month on the disabled list.
Lefty Phillip Diehl (9-2) turned in 3 2/3 shutout innings in relief with 6 K's, including fanning two of the three batters he faced in a perfect ninth to secure the win.
Castillo's ninth inning heroics was part of a 3-for-4 night for the 19-year-old who matched his season-high in hits.
The late rally took starter Nick Nelson off the hook after the Florida righty yielded four runs all in the fourth inning across 5 1/3 innings with four punch outs.
Righty Tyler Hallead was charged with a blown save after putting the first two runners on in the ninth. Lefty Jonathan Hennigan (0-3) took the loss after yielding the game-winning hit in his one inning of work.
The RiverDogs take on the BlueClaws seeking their fifth straight win in game two on Sunday afternoon at 1:05. The RiverDogs will send teenage righty Rony Garcia (0-0, 2.70) to toe the rubber, opposed by Lakewood right-hander Adonis Medina (3-6, 3.58). The game can be tuned in on "The Big Talker" WTMA 1250 AM and online streaming audio via riverdogs.com and the RiverDogs TuneIn Radio app station.
RiverDogs tickets, including options for the all-new Riley Park Club, are now available and can be secured by contacting the box office at (843) 577-DOGS (3647) or online at riverdogs.com/tickets. Those that can't make it to the park can follow every pitch of the RiverDogs season on WTMA 1250 AM in the tri-county area or by streaming online at riverdogs.com and the TuneIn Radio App by searching "RiverDogs." All 70 RiverDogs home games are available with online streaming video at MiLB.tv.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.