The Greenville Drive scored seven times in the eighth inning to defeat the Charleston RiverDogs 12-6 on Thursday night in South Atlantic League action at Fluor Field in front of a crowd of 6,108.
The RiverDogs are now 39-29 this season and 0-1 in the second half. Greenville's record stands at 35-36 and they are 1-0 in the second half.
Charleston immediately broke out the bats in this one, scoring three times in the first inning. Mason Williams (2-5, HR, RBI, 2 runs), who led off his team's first game of the year with a triple, did one better this time, blasting a lead-off home run to open things up. Up next was Cito Culver and he tripled, scoring one batter later on a groundout by Tyler Austin. Gary Sanchez and Dante Bichette, Jr. (2-3, RBI, run) followed with consecutive doubles for a 3-0 lead.
Greenville got two runs back in the second, starting with David Renfroe's (3-3, HR, RBI, 2 runs) sixth homer of the year that cleared the left field wall for one run. The Drive picked up an unearned run later in the inning when Henry Ramos walked and moved to third thanks to a pair of errors. A groundout by Leonel Escobar (2-4, 3 RBI, run) scored Ramos to cut Charleston's lead to just one. In the fourth, they added two more runs to move in front, starting with a Cody Koback double. A Jose Vinicio single to left scored Koback with the tying run. Two batters later, with Vinicio now on second, an RBI single by Keury De La Cruz back through the middle gave Greenville a 4-3 lead.
The deficit didn't last long though, as Mason Williams jump-started another rally. Williams singled with one out in the fifth, stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch and tied the game on a double by Austin. The next inning, Charleston re-took the lead on an RBI double by Angelo Gumbs and added an insurance run when Gumbs crossed the plate on a base hit by Kelvin De Leon.
In the sixth, De La Cruz answered for the Drive with an RBI triple to make it a one run game again. They almost tied the game in the seventh, loading the bases with only one out, but reliever Joel De La Cruz retired the next two hitters in order to strand all three runners and maintain the RiverDogs slim lead.
Greenville wouldn't go away, though, and when new pitcher Philip Wetherell (2-2) came in to try and close the game in the eighth, they jumped on him. Jose Garcia tripled to start the inning and scored on a single by Drew Turocy to tie the game. The next batter, Garin Cecchini, hit an RBI double to push across the go ahead run. After Renfroe walked, Boss Moanaroa hit a grounder into right field, scoring the third run of the inning. With one out, Koback continued the onslaught with a single to center, scoring Renfroe and Escobar then brought in two more runs with a double. Bryan Johns added one more with an RBI single to center as the Drive's seven run rally turned a 6-5 deficit into a 12-6 lead.
Tyler Lockwood (3-2) pitched a scoreless eighth to pick up the win and also finished the night with a scoreless ninth.
The second game of this four game series is set for tomorrow night at 7:05 pm with Charleston's RHP Wilton Rodriguez (1-2, 6.23 ERA) taking the hill against Greenville's RHP Jason Garcia (1-4, 6.95 ERA).