Hagerstown takes series lead with home run in final inning
Box Score: http://atmilb.com/1xRd0WL
CHARLESTON, SC August 2, 2014 – On a night where the Charleston RiverDogs wore throwback Rainbows uniforms and General Manager Dave Echols received an in-game prostate exam, the Hagerstown Suns earned a 1-0 shutout victory on a ninth-inning home run by Wilmer Difo on Saturday evening in front of 4,071 fans at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park in South Atlantic League action.
The RiverDogs are now 21-20 in the second half and 54-57 overall. The Suns have records of 27-15 and 71-41, respectively. Hagerstown also leads this four-game series by a 2-1 margin.
Charleston left-handed pitcher Ian Clarkin and Hagerstown right-handed pitcher Reynaldo Lopez each pitched five scoreless innings to open the contest. Clarkin stranded four baserunners, including three that were in scoring position, while throwing 58 pitches in five innings. Lopez allowed no runs or walks and also retired the final six batters that he faced.
The starters were followed by three scoreless innings apiece from RiverDogs right-hander Giovanny Gallegos and Suns southpaw Joseph Webb. Gallegos struck out four and gave up just two hits in a shutout effort. Webb faced the minimum in his three innings, surrendering one hit and one walk but picking off both runners before they were caught stealing second base.
With double-barreled shutout pitching through eight innings, Difo quickly gave the Suns a 1-0 lead in the top of the ninth. Difo deposited a 2-0 pitch over the right field wall for a leadoff home run against right-handed reliever Stefan Lopez. It was Difo’s tenth round tripper of the season.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, right-handed reliever Sam Johns kept the RiverDogs from scoring to wrap up the shutout. A line drive to first base and a pair of groundouts gave Johns a perfect inning of relief in a save situation.
Webb earned the victory to improve to 4-1 with the Suns. Lopez was charged with the loss and fell to 1-2. Johns recorded his first save with Hagerstown after a scoreless ninth inning.
The Charleston Rainbows throwback uniforms were a big part of Rainbows Day, presented by Charleston Pride and Dudley’s on Ann. The Rainbows were the previous team name from 1985-1993, and in-game music was used from that time period.
Executive Vice President and General Manager Dave Echols received a prostate exam while he sang “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” in support of prostate cancer awareness and Fallon Emery, a nine-year-old from Carolina Forest, SC who is battling brain cancer. Dr. Ian Marshall from Lowcountry Urology Clinics performed the procedure and gave Echols a clean bill of health.
BALLPARK FUN: Patty O’Furniture, a special guest to the ballpark on Rainbows Day, walked a ceremonial first pitch down the path that connects the mound to the plate. RiverDogs Executive Echols’ in-game prostate exam was also a part of the “Two-Knuckle Challenge” within the “Play It Forward” initiative, joining Myrtle Beach’s Andy Milovich and Lake Elsinore’s Dave Oster. There were also silent auctions for the Rainbows uniforms and for Ed Randall’s Fans for the Cure at Saturday’s game, which hosted Summerville Night and several sweat tea promotions.
COMING UP: Charleston and Hagerstown will close this four-game series on Sunday at 5:05pm. RiverDogs RHP Rookie Davis (5-8, 4.69 ERA) is scheduled to face Suns RHP Nick Pivetta (12-6, 3.98 ERA). It will be a CCPRC and Crews Subaru Kids Club Sunday, featuring free admission for Charlie’s Kids Club members, Kids Eat Free from Pepsi, and free parking. Sunday also includes a Holiday Celebration, including special promotions honoring different holidays as well as an appearance from Santa Claus and the Salvation Army. 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.