In the Minor League Baseball Game of the Week on CBS Sports Network, Michael O’Neill’s first professional multi-home run game led the Charleston RiverDogs to a 10-7 come-from-behind victory over the Kannapolis Intimidators on Thursday evening in front of 6,052 fans at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park in South Atlantic League action.
The RiverDogs are 1-0 in the second half and 34-37 overall. The Intimidators now have records of 0-1 and 29-39 respectively. Charleston trailed by four runs twice in the contest, marking this as the biggest deficit that the RiverDogs have overcome in a victory this season.
Kannapolis scored in each of the first three innings to take a 3-0 lead. Hunter Jones led off the game with a triple and scored on a groundout by Trey Michalczewski. In the second, Brett Austin came in during a Christian Stringer single. Jacob Morris drove in a run in the third, bringing in Cleuluis Rondon from second base.
Charleston answered with a quick run in the fourth. Eduardo de Oleo’s sacrifice fly allowed Miguel Andujar to score and bring the RiverDogs within 3-1.
The Intimidators pushed their advantage to 5-1 in the top of the fifth inning. Two runs scored when Austin doubled for the first base hit of his professional career.
In the bottom of the fifth, the RiverDogs cut the deficit in half to 5-3. Gosuke Katoh was driven in by an O’Neill single before Mikeson Oliberto scored on a sacrifice fly from Tyler Wade.
Once again, Kannapolis stretched its lead to four runs during a two-run seventh inning. Morris collected another run-scoring single while Stringer grounded into a force out that brought in Danny Hayes to give the Intimidators a 7-3 lead.
O’Neill’s first home run led off a rally in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game at 7-7. O’Neill snapped a streak of 45 appearances since his last blast with a solo shot to open the frame. Wade scored on a wild pitch for the next run. The gap was cut to one run when Reymond Nunez singled in Andujar. The tying run was scored by Nunez during a throwing error on a pickoff attempt on de Oleo at first base.
Another leadoff home run by O’Neill, his second of the game and his seventh of the season, gave Charleston an 8-7 lead in the eighth. Later in the frame, Dustin Fowler’s two-run double extended the advantage to 10-7.
Evan Rutckyj earned his first victory, improving to 1-0 after two shutout innings to close the game. Matt Abramson was tagged with a blown save and a loss to fall to 0-4. This contest, the first meeting between these teams this season, was officially timed at three hours and 45 minutes for the longest RiverDogs game of the year.
BALLPARK FUN: RiverDogs radio broadcaster Sean Houston partnered with Play It Again Sports Mt. Pleasant for a “Walk and Talk” broadcast, calling the game from a treadmill while accumulating over seven miles of walking and jogging. Palmetto Brewery and Awendaw Green sponsored a concert by Mozo that began right as the RiverDogs were wrapping up their comeback victory.
COMING UP: Game two of this four-game series is scheduled for 7:05pm on Friday with RiverDogs LHP Chaz Hebert (0-0, 11.57 ERA) pitching against Intimidators RHP James Dykstra (3-6, 3.27 ERA). ISHPI Red Shirt Friday, presented by 103.5 WEZL, includes an inning of batboy work from Titus the Wonder Dog and postgame fireworks. The RiverDogs are also hosting Zombie Apocalypse Night, courtesy of Charleston rUNdead 5K, with Zombie Tag taking place before first pitch. 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.