Greg Bird goes 3-4 with a grand slam as Charleston rallies late twice
CHARLESTON, SC July 12, 2013 – Angelo Gumbs scored from second base on a walk-off infield single by Jackson Valera in the bottom of the ninth inning to send the Charleston RiverDogs to victory on Friday night. The RiverDogs topped the Augusta GreenJackets in the series opener by a score of 8-7 in South Atlantic League play at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park in front of 3,857 fans.
The RiverDogs have now won three straight games and are 11-8 in the second half and 50-37 overall on the season. The GreenJackets move to 33-58 on the season and 11-11 in the second half. Charleston remains in second place in the Southern Division. It was the first time all year the RiverDogs won when trailing heading to the bottom of the ninth inning.
Augusta’s offense struck early in the top of the first inning. Jesus Galindo led off the inning with a walk, stole second, and later scored on a Matt Duffy single to right field.
The RiverDogs were held scoreless until the fourth inning when Jackson Valera tied the game with his first home run of the season.
The GreenJackets quickly regained the lead in the top of the fifth and added another run in the sixth. After reaching on a bunt single and advancing to second on a groundout, Trevor Brown scored on a Mitchell Delfino single to left field. With one out in the sixth inning, Ben Turner doubled and later scored on an Andrew Cain bunt single.
Charleston cut into the lead in the bottom of the sixth as Greg Bird led off the inning with a triple and then scored on an Angelo Gumbs sacrifice fly to center field to make the score 3-2.
Both starting pitchers were relieved in the seventh inning. RiverDogs starter Cesar Vargas pitched six innings, allowed three runs on eight hits, walked two batters, and recorded five strikeouts. Augusta starter Chris Stratton countered with six innings of his own in which he allowed four runs on eight hits, issued two walks, and struck out six batters. Neither pitcher was a factor in the decision.
In the bottom of the seventh the RiverDogs took their first lead of the night. After an intentional walk to Cito Culver loaded the bases, Bird smashed a grand slam over the right center field wall to give Charleston a 6-3 lead. The homer was his ninth of the season. Bird finished the game 3-4, just a double shy of the cycle.
The lead was short-lived, however. Augusta tied the game in the top of the eighth with a two-out, three-run homer off the bat of Andrew Cain. They added one more run in the top of the ninth as Brown scored on a Shayne Houck sacrifice fly to make the score 7-6.
Charleston rallied yet again in the bottom of the ninth to steal the walk-off win. Culver tied the game as he scored on a Gumbs double down the right field line. With two outs, Jackson Valera singled on a slow roller to third base, Gumbs never stopped running and was able to score from second to send the Dogs to victory.
James Pazos (2-1) picked up the win for the RiverDogs. In his two innings of work he allowed three runs on two hits and walked one batter. All-Star closer Tyler Mizenko (1-2) was tagged with the loss for Augusta. He recorded just two outs in the ninth inning as he allowed two runs on two hits and one strikeout.
BALLPARK FUN: Campers from the RiverDogs Youth Baseball Camp were recognized on field before the game as the three-day event came to a close.
COMING UP: The second game of this four-game series against the Augusta GreenJackets is Saturday night at 6:05 at Riley Park. LHP Evan Rutckyj (7-5, 4.93 ERA) will be on the mound for Charleston as the RiverDogs go for four straight victories. Augusta will counter with LHP Matt Lujan (2-0, 3.64 ERA). The first 1,000 fans through the gate will receive a Bill Murray T-Shirt presented by WTAT Fox 24. Military members who show a Military ID at the box office will be given free admission for themselves and family members for Military Night presented by General Dynamics. Tickets are available in person at the Riley Park Box Office, by calling 843/723-7241, or by visiting www.riverdogs.com. Fans can listen to the game live locally on ESPN Radio 910AM or online at www.riverdogs.com.