The Charleston RiverDogs bats were silenced once again in game one of Tuesday's doubleheader in Greenville, but the RiverDogs sped past the Greenville Drive in game two in convincing fashion to keep their playoff hopes alive at Fluor Field at the West End in South Atlantic League action.
With the split, the RiverDogs currently sit at 36-26 overall. Greenville remains in last place in the Southern Division standings with a mark of 22-42. Depending on the result of the second game of the Savannah vs. Asheville doubleheader, Charleston will either be tied for first, or one game behind Savannah in the division standings.
The RiverDogs jumped on top early in the first of two seven inning games. Greg Bird hit his fifth home run of the season, all five strangely enough having been in Greenville, in the top of the first inning to give Charleston a 1-0 lead.
Greenville answered with two runs in the bottom of the second as Mario Martinez (3-3) and Aneury Tavarez scored on Bryan Johns single to left field.
In the fourth inning, following three consecutive singles, Johns hits a bases loaded sacrifice fly to center field that scored Martinez. Later after a Jordan Weems (2-3) single, Mookie Betts drew a bases loaded walk that scored Drew Turocy. Tavarez then scored on a wild pitch and extended the lead to 5-1.
With only six outs remaining in the game Cito Culver put the RiverDogs back within striking distance with a two run homer over the left field wall. The home run was Culver's fourth of the season.
However, after surrendering another Greenville run in the bottom half of the sixth inning Charleston failed to continue their rally as Manuel Rivera shut the door and picked up his first save of the season.
Francisco Tavarez (1-3) earned the win for the Drive, while Cesar Vargas (2-3) was tagged with the loss for Charleston. In six innings of work, Tavarez allowed three runs on four hits and struck out three batters, Vargas pitched four innings, allowed five runs on seven hits, walked two batters, and recorded four strikeouts.
Charleston struck first in the second game with three runs in the top of the second inning. With Reymond Nunez (2-4) on second and Dante Bichette, Jr. on third, Kelvin DeLeon hit a two RBI single to left field. DeLeon later scored on a Jackson Valera single to center.
Greenville scored its first run in the bottom of the fourth inning. After singling and advancing to second, Cody Koback (2-4) scored on a David Chester single.
The two teams traded runs in the fifth. Jake Cave (3-4, HR) hit his first home run of the season for the RiverDogs, while Keaton Briscoe (2-3) scored on a Betts single to center field for the Drive.
Charleston quickly added two runs to its lead in the top of the sixth. Following a Danny Oh single, DeLeon (2-3, HR) blasted his fourth home run of the season over the left field wall.
The RiverDogs extended their lead to 8-2 in the seventh with a Greg Bird double that scored Cave and Culver.
Greenville made things interesting with two runs in the bottom of the seventh but Derek Varnadore struck out Martinez looking to shut the door on the Drive.
RiverDogs starting pitcher Daniel Camarena pitched four innings, allowed one run on two hits, and struck out two batters, but was not a factor in the decision. Alex Smith (3-3) picked up the win as he pitched two innings, recorded two strikeouts, and allowed one unearned run on three hits.
For the Drive, Sergio Gomez (0-1) picked up the loss as he allowed three runs on five hits and struck out five batters in four innings of work. He was relieved in the fifth inning by Yunior Ortega who pitched three innings, allowed five runs on seven hits, and struck out three batters.
The RiverDogs and Drive close out their long five game series Wednesday at 7:05pm at Fluor Field at the West End in Greenville. Charleston will send their ace RHP Rafael De Paula (6-2, 2.43 ERA) to the mound as Greenville counters with RHP Frank Montas (1-5, 5.74 ERA). Wednesday's game can be heard online at www.riverdogs.com and locally on ESPN Radio 910 AM.