North Augusta, SC – The Charleston RiverDogs clinched the Low-A East South Division title with an 8-5 win over the Augusta GreenJackets on Sunday evening at SRP Park. The club last won a division title in the second half of the 2017 season. With the victory, the RiverDogs also improved to 40 games over .500 for the first time in 2021.
The RiverDogs (71-31) used the long ball to grab an early advantage in a “bullpen game” for the Augusta pitching staff. Jelfry Marte’s first hit in a RiverDogs uniform cleared the left field wall for a solo home run in the third inning. The home run was the first career round-tripper for Marte. Jonathan Embry added a solo blast of his own in the fourth inning to double the lead. Embry’s home run was his eighth of the season.
In the fifth inning, a single and two walks loaded the bases for the RiverDogs against the GreenJackets bullpen combo of Kenny Wells and Rolddy Munoz. After a strikeout of Embry for the second out of the frame, Munoz walked Abiezel Ramirez to force in a run. Alexander Ovalles beat the shift in the next at-bat, lining a two-run singe into shallow left field that extended the lead to 6-0. Beau Brundage made it 7-0 with his fourth home run of the campaign in the seventh inning.
Leading by seven into the bottom of the seventh inning, it looked like the RiverDogs may cruise to victory. Augusta (42-60) had other ideas. With one man on base and two outs in the frame, Steffon Moore walked back-to-back hitters to load the bases. The southpaw then hit Cal Conley with a pitch to force in a run. Matthew Peguero entered from the bullpen to face Vaughn Grissom and surrendered a three-run triple off the wall in right field that pulled the GreenJackets within 7-4.
Diego Infante provided a big insurance run with a two-out RBI single in the eighth, but Landon Stephens answered with a solo home run in the bottom half to keep Augusta close. The score was 8-5 entering the bottom of the ninth when Jose Lopez closed the game to earn his third save in as many opportunities.
Franklin Dacosta was the winning pitcher out of the bullpen, tossing 4.0 scoreless innings and allowing just one hit. The lefty struck out six. Neraldo Catalina opened the game with 2.0 scoreless frames, striking out three. Moore allowed four runs in 0.2 innings and Peguero one run in 1.1 innings.
The RiverDogs outhit Augusta 10-4 on the night. Infante, Marte and Osleivis Basabe each finished with two hits. Charleston won 24 of the 30 games against Augusta this season.
The RiverDogs will take Monday off before traveling to Columbia to open another six-game road series on Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. Probable pitchers for the series-opener have yet to be unveiled.