Coastal Clash: Charleston Blanked in Exhibition

Well, it isn't quite opening day, but this is the closest thing yet. Charleston took on a High A team, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, but fell by the final score of 4-0. This exhibition game is the last action separating the Yankee prospects from the season. Let's take a look at the game action now.

First off, let's remember that this was only an exhibition game. More than anything else, it was an inaugural event and a celebratory beginning to the 2005 season. Built up as the third annual, "Coastal Clash" between the South Carolina neighbors, the two teams played a friendly exhibition game. However, no matter which way you look at it, Charleston may have wanted to get off to a better start than they did. They went down by the final score of 4-0. Granted, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans are a High A ball team, while Charleston is only Low A, but it was a bit of a rocky start, nonetheless.

The original starting pitcher scheduled for this game was thought to be lefthander, Chase Wright. However, manager, Bill Mosiello elected to go with the highly touted righty, Jeff Marquez. The confident righty took the mound for the first and got off to a fine start, holding the Pelicans scoreless. But, in the second, he ran into some trouble. With Jarrod Saltalamacchia on second base, Marquez surrendered an RBI single to shortstop, Diory Hernandez. Then, an inning later, things got out of hand for Jeff Marquez and the RiverDogs. To lead off the inning, highly touted Braves prospect, Josh Burrus, blasted a solo home run over the left field wall. After back to back doubles by the Pelicans, the Charleston starter gave up one more run on another RBI single by Diory Hernandez.

At that point, after the third inning finally came to a close, the scoring would essentially be over for both teams. Marquez would exit after three innings, and luckily for him, it was only an exhibition game. He went to the clubhouse with a line of 3 innings pitched, 4 runs, 8 hits, 2 walks and 2 strikeouts. It surely isn't exactly what he envisioned for his first appearance, exhibition or not. But, knowing Jeff Marquez as we do, expect him to come back strong his next time out.

If you are looking to hear about the RiverDogs' offense, their truly was not all that much to speak of at all. In fact, only about three hits worth. Those three hits belonged to Estee Harris, Irwil Rojas, and Grant Plumley who all hit singles respectively. Picking up a walk in this game was Marcos Vechionacci, who was also the shortstop in the game. So, the actual biggest offensive performance of the game came from Estee Harris, who singled, walked and hit a ball to the warning track in right field. He, as much as anyone else on the team, needs a good start to this season in order to get off on the right foot, unlike what he did last year with Battle Creek. There were some offensive lowlights, however. Jon Poterson had a rough go of it at the plate, picking up the hat trick with three strikeouts in the game on his first night in right field.

Besides some of the negatives mentioned above, there were some very impressive highlights for the RiverDogs as well. First of all, let's look at the defense. One of the best plays of the game came from Irwil Rojas behind the plate. On a slow roller out in front of the plate, the Venezuelan native pounced from behind the plate and threw the runner out at first. The second and perhaps most positive note had to be the bullpen performance. After a rocky start by Marquez, the relievers held down Myrtle Beach for 4 innings, holding the score at 4-0. First into the game was Josh Smith, who went 1 shutout inning. Pitching the next inning with the exact result was TJ Beam, who looked about as impressive as anyone in this ballgame. To finish out the 7 inning exhibition game, Heath Castle and Mike Martinez pitched the last two innings, allowing no runs. A loss it certainly was, but the main focus for Charleston is the game that happens on Thursday. Opening Day is when it begins to count, and they will turn to Brett Smith to take the ball and deliver a victory.

Pinstripes Plus Top Stories