Max White drove in the game winning run with a two-out single to left in the top of the 13th inning to give the Asheville Tourists a 3-2 win over the Charleston RiverDogs in South Atlantic League play Friday night at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park in front of 3,663 fans.
With the tough loss, the RiverDogs drop to 33-23 on the season and are now 1.5 games behind the first place Savannah Sand Gnats for first place in the Southern Division. The win moves the Tourists to 33-26 on the season and they remain in third place in the Southern Division.
The game remained scoreless for the first three innings in what turned out to be an offensively slow night. RiverDogs starting pitcher Rafael De Paula pitched five innings and allowed one run on three hits. He also fanned eight batters to add to his league leading strikeout total as he has now recorded 91 strikeouts this season in just 59.1 innings of work.
Charleston's great pitching was matched by Asheville's T.J. Oakes. In seven innings of work, Oakes allowed just one run on three hits and struck out four batters, but was not a factor in the decision.
The first run of the contest came in the top of the fourth inning off the bat of Asheville's Rosell Herrera. The solo shot was Herrera's 12th of the season.
Charleston evened the score at 1-1 with a solo shot of their own in the bottom of the fourth as Peter O'Brien (3-5, HR) belted his team leading ninth home run over the left field wall.
The game remained tied until Reymond Nunez broke the standstill with a solo home run over the scoreboard in left in the bottom of the eighth inning to give the RiverDogs a late 2-1 lead. The home run was Nunez's seventh of the season.
However, Charleston's lead would not last long. Ben Paullus entered the game in the ninth inning but failed to pick up his fourth save of the season as Asheville sent the game into extra innings. Asheville tied the game in the top of the ninth inning with a Derek Jones double down the right field line. Tom Murphy would come around from first base to score on a close play at the plate.
No more runs would be scored until the 13th inning. Jason Stolz led off the inning with a single to center field, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and then scored the go ahead run on a Max White single to left field.
Michael Mason (2-0) shut the door on the RiverDogs in the 13th as he earned the win for Asheville. In his three innings of work he allowed no runs on one hit and struck out five Charleston batters.
Alex Smith (2-3), who entered the game in the 10th inning, was credited with the loss. Smith pitched three innings, allowed one run on two hits, and recorded three strikeouts.
BALLPARK FUN: There was a postgame Piggly Wiggly Fireworks display. Fort Johnson Middle School student, Owen Duffy, was recognized during the game for his participation in this year's Scripps-Howard National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C.
COMING UP: The second game of this three-game series against the Asheville Tourists is Saturday night at 6:05. LHP Evan Rutckyj (5-3, 5.07 ERA) will be on the mound for Charleston and will face off against RHP Ben Hughes (5-4, 5.88 ERA) for the Tourists. The first 1,000 fans through the gates will receive Beats by Charlie Headphones presented by WCSC Channel 5. Enjoy a tasty selection of craft beers on tap for Craft Beer Saturday. Come recognize the 1955 Cannon Street YMCA Little League All Stars! The Blood Alliance team will be on site from 4:30-7:30 PM and everyone who registers to donate will receive a free 4-pack of tickets. It's also Girl Scout Night at The Joe! Following the game, kids are welcome to run the bases!