Asheville snaps RiverDogs wins streak

  • Sunday, July 27, 2014

In a back-and-forth game that included four ties and three lead changes, the Asheville Tourists edged the Charleston RiverDogs by a final score of 9-6 on Sunday afternoon at McCormick Field in South Atlantic League action.

The RiverDogs had a five-game win streak snapped while falling to 19-17 in the second half and 52-54 overall. The Tourists rose to 28-9 and 69-37, respectively. Asheville’s Antonio Senzatela became the outright league leader in victories with his 12th triumph of the season.

Over the first and second innings, both teams scored for an early 1-1 tie. Michael Benjamin hit a solo home run for Asheville in the bottom of the first. It was Benjamin’s 12th home run this year. Miguel Andujar doubled to open the second inning and scored on a one-out single by Reymond Nunez. This also ended Senzatela’s streak of 22.0 consecutive shutout innings.

Asheville and Charleston traded runs again to even the score at 2-2 through the top of the fourth. In the bottom of the third, Benjamin stumbled off first base and drew the attention of RiverDogs pitcher Ian Clarkin. Emerson Jimenez scored from third on the play, which resulted in a double steal. Michael O’Neill tripled in the fourth and came in after Andujar’s single to even the score.

The Tourists answered with a two-run fourth inning to take a 4-2 advantage. With one out in the inning, Asheville immediately loaded the bases against RiverDogs reliever Chad Taylor. Zach Osborne singled to drive in Dillon Thomas and Ashley Graeter for the go-ahead runs.

Charleston took advantages of errors in the fifth to surge in front by a score of 6-4. A fielding error loaded the bases for O’Neill, who grounded out to score Brandon Thomas. Andujar struck out, but a wild pitch allowed Andujar to reach first base to extend the inning while Mark Payton scored and Tyler Wade made it to third. Andujar stole second base before a wild pitch and a throwing error helped Wade and Andujar cross home plate and give Charleston the lead.

In the bottom of the fifth, Asheville quickly responded by retaking the lead. The frame began with four straight singles, including Jose Briceno’s hit to bring in Benjamin. Dillon Thomas grounded into a double play that Jordan Patterson scored on to tie the contest. Graeter singled to drive in Correlle Prime and send the Tourists to a 7-6 advantage.

The Tourists added important insurance runs in the seventh and eighth innings for a 9-6 lead. Charleston reliever Philip Walby retired the first two batters in the seventh, but Thomas reached on a single and scored from first base on a double from Graeter. In the eighth, Patterson lifted a sacrifice fly against Evan Rutckyj that scored Osborne.

Graeter and Benjamin each had four base hits, including a 4-for-4 game for Graeter. This duo was responsible for scoring or driving in five of Asheville’s nine runs.

Senzatela improved to a league-best 12-1 record with the victory. Taylor was charged with the loss and is now 2-2 for Charleston. Asheville reliever Trent Daniel picked up his 10th save in the ninth inning. Teammate Trent Black pitched three scoreless innings of relief ahead of Daniel.

Coming up

Game three of this four-game series will be held at 7:05pm on Monday with RiverDogs RHP Rookie Davis (4-8, 4.68 ERA) opposing Tourists RHP Alex Balog (7-3, 3.94 ERA). The next RiverDogs homestand is scheduled for Thursday, July 31 through Sunday, August 3 against the Hagerstown Suns. Upcoming promotions include Gullah Heritage Night, Robert English’s Professional Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame enshrinement, Rainbows Day, and a postgame fireworks display. 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.

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