Dustin Fowler collected two base hits and scored a run to give the Charleston RiverDogs an early 1-0 lead on Friday night, but the Kannapolis Intimidators came from behind to take a 6-1 victory in front of 5,718 fans at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park in South Atlantic League action.
The RiverDogs are 1-1 in the second half and 34-38 overall. The Intimidators improve to 1-1 and 30-39, respectively while evening this series at a game apiece.
Fowler scored in the second inning for a 1-0 RiverDogs lead. He opened the inning with a single against James Dykstra and stole second base before reaching third base on a single by Jackson Valera. After a groundout, Brandon Thomas brought in Fowler while bouncing out to third.
In the top of the fourth, the Intimidators tied the game at 1-1. Trey Michalczewski led off with a walk from Chaz Hebert and advanced to second base when Danny Hayes grounded out. Jacob Morris popped out ahead of Jeremy Dowdy, who singled to drive in Michalczewski for the game-tying run.
During a scoreless fifth inning, Michael O’Neill robbed a home run from Kannapolis. Tyler Williams opened the frame with a high fly ball to right field. O’Neill made a leaping catch at the wall that prevented the Intimidators from taking the lead at that time.
Kannapolis put together a four-run rally to build a 5-1 advantage in the sixth inning. With the bases loaded and one out against Angel Rincon, Michalczewksi and Hayes scored on a go-ahead double by Carl Thomore. Morris came in on the next pitch due to a passed ball. Williams drove in the final run of the rally with a single that plated Thomore.
Dykstra posted a solid start for the Intimidators in a series-evening victory. Dykstra finished seven innings pitched with just one run and five hits allowed. He also retired eight of the final nine batters that he faced, allowing a double to Fowler in that stretch.
The Intimidators also added a run in the eighth inning, stretching the lead to 6-1. Christian Stringer drew a walk from Eric Ruth. After reaching second on a stolen base, Stringer scored during a two-out single by Cleuluis Rondon.
Dykstra earned the win and is 4-6 this season. Rincon took the loss to even his record at 1-1. Kannapolis also received scoreless innings of relief from Brett Bruening, who made his professional debut, and David Putnam. Bruening was a 2010 Chicago White Sox draft pick that retired without any professional appearances, but he returned to baseball this season.
BALLPARK FUN: Zombie Apocalypse Night opened with a pregame edition of “Zombie Tag” that was arranged by Charleston rUNdead 5K. The game itself featured a zombie photo contest, a “Monster Mash” dance session, and zombie-themed RiverDogs headshots on the video board. It was also another ISHPI Red Shirt Friday, presented by 103.5 WEZL, including red RiverDogs jerseys and a postgame fireworks display over the scenic Ashley River.
COMING UP: Game three in this four-game series will start at 6:05pm on Saturday. RiverDogs LHP Ian Clarkin (2-3, 3.67 ERA) and Intimidators LHP Andre Wheeler (0-2, 3.50 ERA) are set for a southpaw showdown. The RiverDogs are hosting their 15th Annual Kindness Beats Blindness auction to support the MUSC Storm Eye Institute and its efforts to find a cure for Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP). Social Media Saturday encourages fans to post and tweet to the RiverDogs with suggestions for music, in-game promotions, and other ballpark features. 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.