Facing a two-run deficit after seven innings, the Charleston RiverDogs came from behind to take a 3-2 win against the Rome Braves in 11 innings at State Mutual Stadium in South Atlantic League action. Charleston scored in the eighth and ninth innings to tie the contest before a trio of wild pitches allowed Abiatal Avelino to score the winning run in the 11th.
The RiverDogs rose to 33-29 in the second half and 66-66 overall. It was also Charleston's first victory when trailing after eight innings this season. The Braves dropped to 28-34 and 52-80, respectively as the series evened at 1-1.
Matt Marksberry kept the RiverDogs hitless in four innings and scoreless through his first seven frames of work. After yielding a one-out walk to Tyler Wade in the first, Marksberry retired the next 11 batters. Jackson Valera's leadoff single in the fifth was negated by an inning-ending double play. Despite a pair of singles in the seventh, Marksberry held Charleston scoreless.
Rome scored its two runs during the bottom of the third inning against Luis Niebla. Connor Oliver got on base with a one-out walk. Oliver moved to third base on a single by Connor Lien, who reached second base on a throw. A Carlos Franco groundout scored Oliver and also pushed Lien to third. Jacob Schrader followed with a single, driving in Lien for a 2-0 Braves lead.
Charleston broke up the shutout in the eighth and cut the difference to 2-1. Brandon Thomas led off with a walk. Following back-to-back outs, Marksberry was replaced by Matt Sims. With Thomas at second base, Claudio Custodio singled to bring in the run. Although Charleston had a chance to tie the contest in the eighth, Sims ended the inning with a pickoff.
During the top of the ninth inning, the RiverDogs were able to tie the game at 2-2. Michael O'Neill was at first base with two outs for Miguel Andujar, who hit a line drive to center field. The ball was misplayed and rolled to the outfield wall for a triple that scored O'Neill. Neither Charleston nor Rome was able to add another run in the ninth, sending the game to extra innings.
Wild pitches allowed Charleston to grab a 3-2 lead in the top of the 11th. Custodio registered a leadoff single but was put out at second base when Avelino hit into a force out. A fly out gave Rome the second out of the inning, but Avelino advanced to second on a wild pitch before O'Neill received a walk. Two more wild pitches helped Avelino cross home plate.
The RiverDogs escaped a dangerous situation in the last of the 11th to hold on for the win. Sal Giardina reached on a leadoff single and advanced to third base on Reed Harper's one-out double. Cody Livesay was intentionally walked ahead of Oliver, who grounded into a game-ending double play turned by Gosuke Katoh, Wade, and Valera.
Eric Ruth claimed the victory and evened his record at 2-2. Richie Tate took the loss and fell to 4-5. Stefan Lopez earned his sixth save in as many chances this season.
COMING UP: The finale of this three-game series, scheduled for 2pm on Sunday, features RiverDogs RHP Rookie Davis (6-8, 5.12 ERA) and Braves RHP Steve Janas (2-6, 5.00 ERA). The last RiverDogs homestand follows this road trip as Charleston will host Greenville from Tuesday, August 26 through Thursday, August 28. The homestand finale features a special start time of 6:35pm as well as postgame fireworks. 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.