Ben Gamel drove in four runs in game one of a doubleheader to spark the Charleston RiverDogs to a 9-7 win over the Savannah Sand Gnats in South Atlantic League action on Saturday night at Historic Grayson Stadium. In game two, Jim Fuller pitched five no-hit innings for Savannah in a 1-0 win over Charleston with 2,028 spectators on hand.
The split puts the RiverDogs record at 49-35 (10-7 in the second half) so far this season and the Sand Gnats are now 47-37 (6-11 in the second half).
After falling behind on a Cody Grice RBI single in the second, Savannah quickly erased the deficit in the bottom half. Brian Harrison (2-3, 2 RBI, 2 runs) doubled to knock in one run and scored two batters later on a single by Brandon Brown. Gregory Pron followed with an RBI double and Gilbert Gomez tallied the fourth run of the inning with a single to plate Pron.
Charleston got a run back in the fifth when Dante Bichette, Jr. scored all the way from first on a double by Tyson Blaser. Savannah immediately answered, however, and seemingly put the game away. Harrison drove in his second run of the game with a single and Dustin Lawley then struck the big blow with his ninth home run of the season, a two-run shot that stretched the lead to five.
Down 7-2, the RiverDogs erupted in the sixth, coming all the way back to tie the game. Cito Cuvler and Grice singled and Ali Castillo reached on an error to load the bases. Ben Gamel (3-5, 4 RBI, run) smacked a double into left to score two runs and that brought up Bichette. With one swing, the third baseman tied the game. Bichette (2-3, HR, 3 RBI, 2 runs) launched a three run homer over the left field wall, his second of the year, to even things at seven.
In the seventh, Charleston completed the comeback. After pitcher Randy Fontanez (1-2) got the first two outs, Grice drew a walk and Castillo singled. Gamel then laced a two-run triple into right to make the score 9-7. Pedro Guerra (4-1) pitched a scoreless sixth for the win and sealed the game with a perfect seventh.
After the slugfest in game one, pitching was the story in game two. Brett Gerritse (1-4) started for the RiverDogs and was outstanding. In five innings, he allowed only one run on three hits with five strikeouts and didn't issue a walk. Savannah got their only run off him in the fourth when Camden Maron crossed the plate on a double by Aderlin Rodriguez (2-3, RBI).
Unfortunately for Gerritse, Fuller (2-1) was even better. After he walked Castillo to start the game, he retired 15 batters in a row and left after five innings without allowing a hit. He also struck out four.
T.J. Chism took over on the mound in the sixth and immediately allowed a pair of singles for Charleston's first two hits of the game, but didn't allow a run in the sixth or in the seventh, as he finished off the win for his 14th save.
These two teams have split the first four games of the series and will square off in the rubber game on Sunday, with the start time scheduled for 2:05 pm. RHP Scottie Allen (3-4, 5.10 ERA) will take the ball for the RiverDogs against RHP Domingo Tapia (4-2, 3.62 ERA), who will start for the Sand Gnats.