John Murphy collected two base hits and had a perfect defensive performance in his first career start at first base, but the Augusta GreenJackets defeated the Charleston RiverDogs 8-1 on Friday evening in front of 4,322 fans at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park in South Atlantic League action.
The RiverDogs are 3-5 this season and trail this four-game series with two losses to the GreenJackets, whose record is now 5-4.
In the fourth inning, Augusta opened the scoring. Tyler Ross hit a bases-loaded, two-out single that scored Brandon Bednar and Devin Harris for a 2-0 GreenJackets lead. Augusta increased its advantage to 3-0 after scoring in the top of the fifth.
Starting pitcher Keury Mella carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning before the RiverDogs broke through and also got on the scoreboard. Michael O’Neill walked and reached third base after a stolen base and a wild pitch. Murphy lined a single off Mella’s leg to score O’Neill and cut the deficit to 3-1.
The RiverDogs threatened to take the lead during the bottom of the seventh. After reliever Steven Messner picked up two quick outs, Eduardo De Oleo and Murphy recorded back-to-back singles. A Tyler Wade walk loaded the bases and resulted in an Augusta pitching change. Luis Castillo faced Brandon Thomas, who flew out to center field for the final out of the frame.
After escaping a jam on defense, Augusta solidified its lead in the eighth inning. Ryder Jones doubled and brought in Devin Harris for a 4-1 GreenJackets advantage. Two more runs scored on a pair of sacrifice flies that built a five-run lead. In the ninth, Jones struck again with a two-run single that put the contest out of reach.
Mella’s no-hit bid put him in the win column to improve his record to 2-0. Mella allowed one hit and one run while striking out seven in a five-inning start. Giovanny Gallegos took the loss for Charleston and is 0-2 this season. This game was also the first contest of the season that the RiverDogs were the second team to score.
BALLPARK FUN: Chief Warrant Officer Travis Meyer returned from a nine-month deployment in the Eastern part of the Mediterranean and surprised his family at The Joe on Friday evening. It was Meyer’s third such naval deployment in the last four years. Following the contest, fans watched the sky light up over the Ashley River during the first fireworks display of the season.
COMING UP: Game three of this four-game series will be a matchup between RiverDogs RHP Brady Lail (1-0, 1.50 ERA) and GreenJackets LHP Carlos Diaz (0-1, 4.50 ERA). First pitch on Saturday is scheduled for 6:05pm. The first 1,000 fans through the gates will receive a Bill Murray RiverDogs T-Shirt presented by BenefitFocus and Fox 24. It’s also Social Media Saturday, when fans are encouraged to make music and promotional game requests to the RiverDogs on Facebook and Twitter. Fans whose requests are chosen will see their names on the video board. 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 onwww.riverdogs.com and locally on 1250 WTMA, the new radio home for RiverDogs baseball.