Tyler Austin and Gary Sanchez belted early-inning home runs to lead the Charleston RiverDogs to a 14-5 thumping of Savannah in South Atlantic League action Wednesday afternoon in front of a standing room only crowd of 6,533 fans at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park.
With the victory, the first-place RiverDogs snapped a three-game losing streak and improved to 25-12 on the season while the second-place Sand Gnats slipped to 24-14.
Charleston starter Caleb Cotham threw six innings, allowing two runs on three hits while striking out two and walking none to even his record at 2-2.
Offensively, the RiverDogs blasted 16 hits, the second-highest total of the season, and every player in the starting lineup scored at least one run. Sanchez paced Charleston with a three-run homer in the third and cleared the bases with a three-run double in the fourth as the RiverDogs blew the game wide open.
The RiverDogs took a quick 2-0 lead in the first when Austin clubbed his league-leading 12th home run of the season, a two-run shot to left field that came after Dante Bichette, Jr. drew a two-out walk off Savannah starter Alex Panteliodis.
Savannah knotted the score at 2-2 in the third on consecutive RBI groundouts to short by Luis Nieves and Brandon Brown.
The RiverDogs took the lead for good in their half of the third when Ali Castillo singled, moved to second on a sacrifice by Mason Williams (3-4, 2 RBI, run) and scored on a successful hit-and-run to right by Cito Culver. Sanchez followed with his home run to left to give the hosts a four-run advantage.
The RiverDogs continued the onslaught against Panteliodis and reliever Carlos Vazquez in the fourth. Williams produced the first run of the inning with an RBI single, and Bichette drove in two more with a single through the right side. After a walk to Austin, Sanchez drove a double into the leftfield corner to plate all three runners.
Panteliodis took the loss, dropping to 3-2 on the season. In his 3.1 innings, he was touched for seven hits and eight earned runs, walking three and striking out two. The Sand Gnats finished the scoring in the ninth on a three-run homer by Aderlin Rodriguez.