Ben Gamel knocked in two runs and scored two more as the Charleston RiverDogs defeated the Savannah Sand Gnats 5-4 on Thursday night in South Atlantic League action at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park with 5,054 fans on hand.
The victory completed a four-game sweep for the RiverDogs and they won their fifth in a row to move to 44-31 (5-3 in the second half). Another loss for the Sand Gnats puts them at 42-33 (1-7 in the second half).
"Our defense tonight was fantastic," said RiverDogs manager Carlos Mendoza. "Scottie Allen gave us five solid innings. Everybody contributed offensively and that was big win for our team."
Savannah again seized the early lead with a run in the first off starter Scottie Allen (3-5). Brandon Brown singled to start the game, moved to second on an error, to third on a double play and scored the first run on a passed ball. Allen didn't allow anything else after that unearned run. In five innings, he gave up only two hits with two strikeouts and no walks. At one point, he retired 12 consecutive hitters.
After being held scoreless through two innings by Jacob DeGrom (3-2), the RiverDogs offense woke up in the third. Ali Castillo led-off the inning with a single and stole second. A single by Gamel (2-4, 2 RBI, 2 runs) knocked Castillo in and he moved to second on an error. Two batters later, Gary Sanchez smacked an RBI single back through the middle to make the score 2-1.
Gamel ignited another rally in the fifth with a two out single. When Tyler Austin singled to right, Gamel headed to third and scored when the throw to third when into the stands. Austin, who took second on the error, stole home later in the inning as part of a double steal with Sanchez.
Savannah picked up another unearned run in the sixth when Yucarybert De La Cruz scored on a passed ball, but Charleston answered in the seventh when Mason Williams walked, stole second and eventually scored on a groundout by Gamel.
In the eighth, after two innings from Brett Gerritse, Joel De La Cruz took over and immediately benefited from some sparkling defense. After a one out walk, Cito Culver fielded a grounder on the run in the hole on the left side, threw to second for one out and Ali Castillo made the turn and the throw on to first to complete an amazing double play. De La Cruz allowed Savannah to get within one in the ninth, but got the final three outs for his third save.