Navas Steals Home to Tie Ballgame, and Park scores winning run on an error as the RiverDogs walk off after a four-run ninth
CHARLESTON, SC – The Charleston RiverDogs couldn’t have asked for a better way to open up the season as they walked off 5-4 winners over the Columbia Fireflies on Thursday night’s season opener at The Joe. Luis Dorante’s side battled back from a three run deficit in the ninth inning capped off by a steal of home by Eduardo Navas to tie the ballgame before an errant throw allowed Hoy Jun Park to score the winning run in front of a jubilant crowd of 6,406.
With the RiverDogs trailing 4-1 in the bottom of the ninth inning, Fireflies closer Alex Palsha came in to shut the door. After a lineout by Kyle Holder to start the inning, Kendall Coleman and Angel Aguilar drew back-to-back walks to set up an RBI single to right field by Eduardo Navas that made it 4-2. After striking out Hendrix, Palsha walked the birthday boy Park to load up the bases. For the second time in the ballgame, Trey Amburgey drew a walk with the bases full to drive in a run, making it 4-3.
After issuing his fourth walk of the inning, Palsha was pulled to make way for Johnny Magliozzi. With Chris Gittens in the box, Magliozzi turned to check on the runner at second, Park, who took off with a full count and was pursued by the Fireflies pitcher. Taking advantage of the rundown opportunity, Navas swiped home plate from third to tie the ballgame as Magliozzi fired a high throw home that bounced off the glove of the catcher, Tyler Moore. The error charged to the Firefly reliever allowed Park to score the winning run.
Charleston’s Opening Night starter Domingo Acevedo put in three strong innings before wavering in the fourth when he allowed all three of his runs. Vincent Siena and Dash Winningham each singled off of the righty to lead off the fourth and Siena scored on a wild pitch. Tyler Moore and Milton Ramos each drove home runs on singles before Acevedo would exit his first career start at The Joe allowing three runs on six hits with five Ks over his 3.2 innings of work.
The RiverDogs answered back with a run of their own in the fifth when Amburgey walked with the bases loaded and two outs to drive in Coleman and cut the deficit to two.
The Fireflies tacked on another in the sixth with the second RBI single of the ninth from Ramos in the nine spot, making it a 4-1 Columbia advantage.
Summerville native James Reeves picked up the win in his RiverDogs debut, holding down the fort for three scoreless innings to keep the deficit at just three. The former Citadel standout allowed just a hit while walking one and striking out a pair in his return to The Joe.
Travis Hissong limited the damage in the fourth after replacing Acevedo and logged 2.1 innings while giving up one run.
Magliozzi was charged with a blown save and a loss with the tying run scored by Aguilar being charged earned against him.
The RiverDogs needed just four hits in the win, and collected just one hit combined in the fifth and ninth innings when they plated all five runs.
RiverDogs enjoyed plenty of Opening Night festivities as latecomers to the scheduled 7:05pm first pitch were greeted with the piano stylings of Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg who performed the National Anthem and threw out the ceremonial first pitch with RiverDogs Director of Fun Bill Murray serving as his battery mate pregame.
Fans enjoyed the first Thirsty Thursday of the season as DJ Natty Heavy had the tunes pumping all night long at the Ashley View Pub to provide the soundtrack for the R’Dogs ninth inning heroics.
Fans that stuck around not only enjoyed a great comeback, but also the first of 15 postgame fireworks extravaganzas.
The RiverDogs, the Class-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, continue their four-game series with the Fireflies in Game Two tomorrow on April 8 at 7:05pm. The RiverDogs will roll out RHP Will Carter (NR, 0.00) while the Fireflies will counter with RHP Thomas McIlraith (NR, 0.00). For those that can’t make it out to the ballpark, the game can be heard on WTMA 1250 AM and online at riverdogs.com. Ticket information may be secured by contact the box office at (843)577-DOGS (3647) or online at www.riverdogs.com.