Charleston opened the crucial three-game series against the Southern Division leaders with a win to improve to 33-24 in the season's second half and move within 2 ½ games of the Catfish in the standings. Columbus dipped to 35-21 and 76-50 overall.
RiverDogs starter Grant Duff (13-8) out-dueled Columbus' Jeremy Hellickson, one of the top arms in the SAL this season who entered the night 12-2 with a 2.69 ERA. Duff went five full innings and scattered two hits while walking only one and striking out two.
The Catfish still lead the Southern Division by 1-1/2 games over Asheville, who won tonight.
Game 2 of the 3-game series will be Wednesday night, with the series concluding Thursday night. The Catfish open their final home stand of the regular season Friday, hosting last-place Savannah for 4 games, then Charleston for 3 games, before ending the season with 4 more at at Savannah.