CHARLESTON, SC – Christian Morris tossed six innings of one hit ball to lift the Charleston RiverDogs to a 4-2 win over the Asheville Tourists Thursday night in front of 5,061 at Joseph P. Riley Jr., Park.
Morris (4-1) commanded the strike zone and kept the Asheville Tourist (30-29) hitters off balance with six innings of one-hit baseball with two walks and seven strikeouts to near the Charleston RiverDogs (35-23) closer to clinching the first half title. A first half win would clinch a playoff spot, their first playoff berth in 11 years.
Charleston entered the top of the ninth with a four run lead, but that was minimized to two as the Tourists scrapped two runs across off of RiverDog reliever Nestor Cortes to make it a 4-2 game. Terry McClure worked a leadoff walk, which was followed by an infield bunt single to first by Mylz Jones. On the play Chris Gittens threw the ball into right field advancing the runners 90 feet. The next batter Brendan Rogers lifted a ball to right field deep enough to score McClure on the sacrifice to make it 4-1. On the next play the South Atlantic League’s best hitter, Brian Mundell grounded out to third, but did score Jones on the play. Cortes earned his second save of the season.
In the bottom of the fourth inning the RiverDogs should have gone down quietly, but ended up putting a four spot on the Tourists. With one out and a runner on first, Audie Afenir grounded a ball to the second baseman Carlos Herrera who flipped to the shortstop for the first out. In what should have been an easy double play, the first baseman Brian Mundell was not at first base as he though there were two outs at the beginning of Afenir’s at bat. After the fielder’s choice, Angel Aguilar lofted a flare shot into center field to put runners on first and second. Leonardo Molina rocketed a line drive into the right field corner and legged out the two-RBI triple scoring both runners to make it 3-1. Alexander Palma bounced a single off the pitcher’s mound to drive in Molina and give the RiverDogs a 4-0 lead heading into the fifth inning.
Facing the former South Carolina Gamecock Jack Wynkoop (6-3), Molina doubled to lead off the frame. After a fly out to right from Palma that advanced Molina to third, Gosuke Katoh turned on a fastball and blistered his RBI double to right field to take the 1-0 lead.
The Charleston RiverDogs toasted to another Budweiser Thirsty Thursday presented by 95 SX that features $1 draft beers as DJ Natty Heavy shredded tunes in the Ashley View Pub all game long.
The RiverDogs will take on the Tourists in the second game of the series on Friday as RHP Domingo Acevedo (2-1, 2.19) squares off against RHP Peter Lambert (2-3, 2.29). Want to blast the weekend off the right way? Come out to The Joe and enjoy another spectacular Home Telecom postgame fireworks show after the game. The RiverDogs will wear specialty red uniforms to honor our military as part of ISHPI Red Shirt Fridays presented by Mix 96. Fans that wear red to the game get $1 off their ticket purchase at the gate with the option to donate that dollar to the Wounded Warrior Corps.