Early offense and late pitching added up to a season-opening road victory for the Lexington Legends on Thursday night.
The Legends scored four runs before the Charleston (S.C.) RiverDogs could even pick up a bat, and relief pitcher Grant Gavin closed the game with four perfect innings for a 6-3 victory in the South Atlantic League opener for both teams.
Chris DeVito drove in the Legends’ first run with an RBI single. Emmanuel Rivera’s single knocked in two more, and Amalani Fukofuka’s RBI double made it 4-0 in the top of the first inning.
Legends starting pitcher Nolan Watson settled down after an early bout of wildness and allowed one unearned run in four innings. He pitched out of trouble in the first inning after loading the bases on three consecutive walks. Isiah Gilliam struck out looking to end the threat.
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Charleston scored a run in the third against Watson and two runs in the fifth against Legends reliever David McKay to trim the lead to 4-3.
Meanwhile, the Legends’ bats cooled considerably. They didn’t score again until the seventh, when Khalil Lee hit a leadoff homer to stretch the lead to 5-3.
Lexington added another insurance run in the ninth. Lee singled with one out and moved to third when RiverDogs first baseman Brandon Wagner couldn’t corral relief pitcher David Sosebee’s pickoff throw.
Gabriel Cancel doubled to center field, driving in Lee and completing the scoring.
Lee, a third-round pick by the Kansas City Royals in last season’s MLB amateur draft, went 3-for-4. Cancel went 2-for-5.
Gavin (1-0), a 29th-round pick last June out of Central Missouri, ended any hopes of a RiverDogs comeback by shutting them down from the sixth inning on. No one reached base against the right-hander, who struck out one.
Charleston starting pitcher Nick Green (0-1) failed to make it out of the third inning, giving up four earned runs on five hits and two walks.