Charleston RiverDogs drop 6-3 decision to Lexington on opening nightTop prospect Blake Rutherford was 1-for-3 with two walks in the loss
CHARLESTON - The Charleston RiverDogs' 2017 campaign began on a low note in the Lowcountry, as an early strike by the Lexington Legends combined with a lack of clutch offense led to a season-opening 6-3 loss at Joseph P. Riley Park.
The first half-inning of the year saw Lexington score four times against RiverDogs starter Nick Green (0-1), with four straight Legends reaching base with one out - the last two of those being an RBI single by Chris DeVito and a two-run single by Emmanuel Rivera - and Amalani Fukofuka plating the fourth run with a two-out RBI double.
The RiverDogs had a chance to tie it in the bottom of the frame, as consecutive two-out walks drawn by Blake Rutherford, Donny Sands, and Estevan Florial brought the tying run to the plate, but Isiah Gilliam was called out on strikes to end the inning.
On the night overall, Charleston had just five hits (belonging to Rutherford, Gilliam, Brandon Wagner, Oswaldo Cabrera, and Diego Castillo) and drew seven walks, but that first-inning failure to capitalize became a theme throughout the night.
After going 1-2-3 in the second, Charleston finally broke through in the third; Cabrera singled with one out, Rutherford walked, and they both moved up on a passed ball, but after Sands' RBI groundout plated one, Florial grounded out to end the inning.
Charleston then left the bases loaded in the fourth - Gilliam and Castillo singled and Hoy Jun Park walked with two outs but Cabrera lined out to end that frame - and, despite scoring twice in the fifth, left two on in that frame, too.
In that inning, Rutherford led off with a walk, and came around to score on a stolen base, a groundout, and a wild pitch on Gilliam's two-out walk; that set the stage for a rally, as Leonardo Molina walked and Wagner singled home Gilliam to make it 4-3, but Molina and Wagner were stranded when Castillo grounded out.
In the final four frames, though, Lexington got single runs in the seventh (Khalil Lee solo homer) and ninth (Gabriel Cancel double), while the RiverDogs had just one baserunner; that was Cabrera, who reached on an error with one out in the sixth, but he was immediately erased on a 3-3-6 double play off the bat of Rutherford, and Charleston went nine up, nine down in the final three innings.
On the mound, starter Green was tagged for four runs on five hits, with two walks and three strikeouts, in 2 1/3 innings. Albert Abreu, one of the pitchers acquired from Houston in the Brian McCann deal, relieved and allowed a run on three hits and a walk (with six strikeouts) in four innings of work, and David Sosebee finished up by allowing a run on three hits and striking out six in 2 2/3 frames.
In addition to starting Charleston's season 0-1, the loss capped off a tough opening night for the Yankees' affiliates. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Trenton were both rained out on the road, while the Tampa Yankees dropped a 2-1 decision to Lakeland at Steinbrenner Field despite a combined 14 strikeouts from major-league fifth starter candidates Jordan Montgomery and Chad Green.