Tuesday, July 8, 2014
With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, Dustin Fowler slapped a double down the left field line to give the Charleston RiverDogs a 4-3 walk-off win over the Greenville Drive on Monday evening in front of 3,318 fans at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park in South Atlantic League action.
The RiverDogs climb to 6-13 in the second half and 39-50 this season. The Drive is now 3-16 and 37-51, respectively, after its 14th consecutive loss. This was Charleston's second walk-off win of the season, joining a 1-0, 10-inning victory over the Savannah Sand Gnats on May 12.
Reymond Nunez produced a 2-0 lead for the RiverDogs in the second inning. Mike Ford and Eduardo de Oleo each drew walks earlier in the inning before Nunez's two-out, two-run double plated Ford and de Oleo to put Charleston in front.
Greenville drove ahead 3-2 during the top of the fourth. Cole Sturgeon reached on a bunt single while Jimmy Rider picked up a walk. Following a fly out, Carlos Asuaje singled to score Sturgeon for the Drive's first run. Jake Romanski brought in Rider with a groundout that tied the game. Asuaje scored the go-ahead run during a single by Manuel Margot.
In the fifth inning, Charleston evened the score at 3-3. Nunez earned a one-out walk and moved to second base on a wild pitch while Michael O'Neill was at the plate. O'Neill extended the inning during a two-out single that moved Nunez to third base. Tyler Wade took advantage of the opportunity, doubling in Nunez to tie the game.
Both bullpens opened with scoreless work through the top of the ninth inning. At the end of the fifth, Jacob Dahlstrand inherited a bases-loaded, two-out situation from Greenville starter Myles Smith and escaped with an inning-ending fly out. Charleston's Brady Lail earned a quality start after six innings while reliever Chad Taylor pitched two shutout frames. Taylor was replaced in the ninth by Evan Rutckyj, who stranded a runner at second base in a scoreless inning.
Fowler closed the ninth inning and the game with a walk-off double. Gosuke Katoh walked against Dahlstrand with one out and moved to third base on an O'Neill single. Wade hit a ground ball to the mound, and Katoh was tagged out by catcher Jake Romanski while trying to get back to third base. Fowler came through with a double that bounced past the third base bag in fair territory to bring in O'Neill from second base and secure the victory.
Rutckyj earned the victory and is now 2-0 this season. Dahlstrand slides to 4-5 with a loss. O'Neill has directly factored in both RiverDogs walk-offs this season, scoring on Monday against Greenville and forcing in the winning run with a base on balls against Savannah on May 12 in a 10-inning triumph.
The Post and Courier sponsored All-Lowcountry Softball and Baseball Night. Summerville's Summer Jenkins and West Ashley's Jonathon Sabo earned Player of the Year accolades and will also have their names on permanent display at Riley Park. Greenville outfielder Cole Sturgeon made his Drive debut, making each of his plate appearances with an actual sturgeon pictured on the video board along with Sturgeon's name, number, and statistics.
Game two of this three-game series will start at 7:05pm on Tuesday, featuring RiverDogs LHP Caleb Smith (4-7, 3.61 ERA) and Drive LHP Daniel McGrath (3-4, 3.33 ERA). Harris Teeter 2-for-$20 Date Night, presented by Nash FM, invites couples to show their VIC Card at the box office to receive two tickets to the game, two tacos, two fountain drinks and a nacho tray for only $20. Go Green Night from Charleston County Environmental Management is on tap as Charleston and Greenville continue the Battle of the Palmetto State Rivalry Series, presented by Spinx. 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.