Keury De La Cruz cracked a walk-off home run to lead-off the bottom of the 11th inning for the Greenville Drive and secure a dramatic 4-3 win over the Charleston RiverDogs on Monday night in South Atlantic League action at Flour Field.
The RiverDogs now have a record of 56-49 (17-21 in the second half) after suffering their eighth straight loss, while the Drive won their second in a row to move to 52-55 (18-19 in the second half).
De La Cruz's (2-5, HR, RBI, run) blast was his 16th of the year and made a loser out of reliever Joel De La Cruz (3-3), who had just entered the game. Two innings prior, Robert Refsnyder's (3-5, HR, 3 RBI, run) ninth inning heroics had tied the game for the RiverDogs. Trailing 3-0 in the top of the ninth, Refsnyder touched off his first professional home run, a game-tying three run bomb to even the score. Nefi Ogando (3-4) gave up that homer, but also pitched a scoreless tenth and eleventh to get the win.
Greenville tagged Charleston starter Scottie Allen for the game's first two runs in the bottom of the third. They opened the inning with three straight singles and the final one by Jose Garcia was good for an RBI. Two batters later, Garin Cecchini hit a fly ball deep enough to score Jose Vinicio from third for a sacrifice fly. The Drive made the score 3-0 in the fourth when Boss Moanaroa doubled and scored on a fielder's choice.
Greenville starter Jason Garcia was outstanding and shut down the Charleston lineup for six innings. He faced the minimum twelve batters in the first four innings and induced two double plays. He allowed the RiverDogs only two hits and three walks with three strikeouts before turning things over to the bullpen.
Dylan Chavez replaced Garcia in the seventh and he retired all six men he faced to send the game to the ninth. Ogando tried to close out the night, but couldn't hold the lead.
On Tuesday at 7:05 pm, Charleston RHP Bryan Mitchell (6-8, 5.32 ERA) will face Greenville RHP Luis Diaz (3-6, 6.00 ERA) in game two of this four game set.