The Greenville Drive scored eight times in the third inning and never looked back in a 15-10 rout of the Charleston RiverDogs in South Atlantic League action on Saturday night in front of 4,081 at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park.
The RiverDogs now stand at 31-17 on the year and lost another game in the standings to the victorious Asheville Tourists, while Greenville evened their record at 24-24.
The Drive opened up the scoring with three runs in the first against starter Wilton Rodriguez (1-2). Garin Cecchini (5-6, 5 RBIs 2 runs) knocked in the first run with an RBI single and scored the second run on a base hit by Henry Ramos. An RBI groundout then put the RiverDogs in an early 3-0 hole.
In the bottom of the first inning, Charleston took advantage of a pair of walks to get a run back, as a Tyler Austin (2-3, RBI, 2 runs) RBI single made the score 3-1. One inning later, they scored three times to take the lead. First, Reymond Nunez evened things up with a long two-run homer over the right field wall off starter Jason Garcia (1-2), his second round-tripper of the year. Then, after Mason Williams singled and stole second, Cito Culver scored him with a single to center.
The third inning is when Greenville blew the game open and knocked out Rodriguez. The Drive scored eight runs and sent 12 men to the plate. The first eight batters of the inning all reached on a walk, a double and six singles, with five of those hits driving in runs. The Drive compiled eight hits, none of which scored more than one run, and seven different players had RBIs. The inning, which was the most damaging the RiverDogs have endured this season, finally ended when Brett Gerritse struck out Ramos with two men on.
Trailing 11-4 after two and a half innings, the RiverDogs put forth a valiant effort, but were unable to overcome the huge deficit. They scored one run in the third when Austin doubled and scored on a double play, but it was equaled in the fifth when Cecchini hit an RBI double.
As has been the case all year, the RiverDogs didn't go away without a fight. In the seventh with two on and two out, Ben Gamel dropped an RBI double into left field to score one run. Angelo Gumbs (2-4, HR, 3 RBI) then launched a three-run homer over the wall in left-center to cut the Greenville lead to three runs. Once again, though, the Drive responded, with a three-run rally in the ninth capped by a 2-run double by Cecchini. Charleston rallied again in the ninth to score another run but Tyler Lockwood got out of the jam and earned the save.