From the start of the season, Charleston's offense has been the main propellant for their numbers in the victory column. The RiverDogs have sat consistently in the top three of the OBP and hits category in the SAL. On May 20th the Holy City showcased its offensive power in a game that set records all over the place.
It was a night to remember for the RiverDog's offense as they demolished the Augusta GreenJackets 18-4. The final box score revealed that Charleston had collected 20 hits to go along with the 18 runs they produced. Not a single home run was hit and just three extra base hits were clubbed by RiverDogs through out the nine inning contest. May 20th also became the most runs and hits ever recorded at Joseph P. Riley Jr. Park since the turn of the century.
Highlighting the night was the fact that Charleston sent 46 men to the plate and not a single one went down on strikes. RiverDogs media staff traced all the records that were available and found that this had only happened once, almost a decade ago. The RiverDogs were taking on the Columbus Catfish on August 22nd, 2008 in the first game of a double header. Charleston was held to just two hits from Columbus's starter Jesse Darcy who pitched the entire seven inning ball game but did not strike out a RiverDog batter. Charleston sent less than half the men to the plate in that game (22) than they did against the GreenJackets (46). "That's something we have been harping on with the kids, their two strike approach. We have been striking out an awful lot and it's just having a mind set of what to do in those type of counts. Tonight we got into some of those at bats and we battled with two strikes fouling off pitches until we got something we could handle. Kudos to the nine kids that were in the line up tonight, just a great performance and if it happens again this season I think we'll all be really happy." said RiverDogs Skipper Patrick Osborn in the post game interview.
The 20 hits and 18 runs the offense put up marked a first since some current MLB players were in Charleston. Dating back 5 years to May 29th 2012, the RiverDogs topped the Asheville Tourists 19-6 in a hitter friendly park at McCormick Field. Tyler Austin had a day collecting five hits and current New York Yankee Gary Sanchez went 3-5 including a home run. At the end of the game Charleston collected 21 hits, 8 of them being extra bases.
Charleston had already seen action this season from Augusta's starter Caleb Baragar so it helped them take a 4-0 lead right out of the gate in the first inning. "He (Baragar) had a decent start against us the first time around and against a lefty like that it's more of a command type pitcher, his velocity is not over powering, good change up, you just go to be disciplined with where you're looking for your pitch. From pitch one tonight we were on our game, we scored four in the first and they came back to tie it up and we blew it open in the fourth," said Osborn.
Augusta tied the game in the top half of the second and that stayed the score till the fourth. Charleston broke the game wide open sending a combined 22 men to the plate in both the fourth and fifth innings. They knocked out Baragar in the fourth and turned on Augusta's bull pen even harder. Baragar was charged for 10 of the RiverDogs runs after he was unable to get an out in the fourth as he faced just six batters putting them all on. Augusta had to send three more relievers through out the rest of the game and they all combined to allow 8 runs on 12 more hits.
As a team, Charleston set multiple records, but individuals had career days as well. Seven of Charleston's batters had multiple hit games. Leading them all was the red hot Estevan Florial. RiverDogs designated hitter went 4-5 scoring four runs and collecting three RBI and tying a career high in hits. Catcher Donny Sands had his first multi RBI game of the season as he went 2-5 with 3 RBI. "These types of games are what I call fluke games. They don't happen that often. I heard this saying years ago that when you on the right side of this type of game, you can never think you're as good as the game that night. On the other end of it you can't think of it as you're that bad, you have to stay in the middle somewhere," Osborn said.
RiverDogs starter Nick Green was removed from the game in just the second inning for precautionary reasons as he took a line drive to the shoulder, so Charleston's manager Patrick Osborn turned his trust to Raynel Espinal. The right hander tossed one of his best games of his career. He tied a career high 6.0 innings and shut down the Augusta offense allowing just two hits and eight strike outs. Espinal also received his first win of the season. Trevor Lane finished off the GreenJackets striking out the side in the ninth inning.
Charleston went on to take the finale in game four 4-2 and took the series 3-1. The RiverDog's offense currently ranks second in batting average with a .274 and has collected the second most hits in the SAL with 414.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.