The Charleston RiverDogs knew they needed a win to keep pace with the Savannah Sand Gnats, and Charleston did just that Wednesday evening. In a back-and-forth battle with the pesky Greenville Drive, Charleston plated three late runs in the seventh to propel the RiverDogs to a 10-5 victory over Greenville at Fluor Field at the West End in South Atlantic League action.
With the victory, the RiverDogs improve to 37-26 overall and remain in second place, just a game behind the Savannah Sand Gnats in the Southern Division standings. With the loss, Greenville drops to 22-43 and remains in last place in the Southern Division standings.
The RiverDogs were paced offensively by greats nights from Cito Culver (2-4, two HR, four RBI, walk) and Peter O'Brien (3-5, single, double, HR) which made up for Rafael De Paula's worst start of the season. The All-Star righty allowed the most runs and hits of the season as Greenville scored five times on seven hits with five strikeouts in five innings against De Paula.
Charleston struck first in the top of the first inning Wednesday. Cito Culver drew a walk and advanced all the way to third on a Peter O'Brien double. With runners in scoring position, Greenville starter Frank Montas threw a wild pitch to score Culver from third.
The RiverDogs would get into the scoring column again in the fourth inning for a pair of runs. Taylor Dugas drew a leadoff walk and would later score on a RBI single by Reymond Nunez. Kelvin DeLeon singled and would also come around to score on a RBI double by Jake Cave in the frame.
Peter O'Brien continues to swing a hot bat as he unloaded for a solo homer in the fifth inning, his team leading 11 on the season. Charleston's biggest inning came in the seventh with the team trailing 5-4. The inning started with a solo homer by shortstop Cito Culver. Following Culver, Peter O'Brien was back at it with a single and would later score on a RBI double by Taylor Dugas. Dugas scored on the very next play thanks to an RBI single by Reymond Nunez.
Charleston scored their final three runs in the eighth on a three-run homer by Cito Culver, his second of the game, to put the game away for the Dogs.
Adam Smith (2-0) picked up the victory with his two scoreless innings of relief and he allowed just a single hit and struckout three. Dietrich Enns closed out the game getting the final six outs, five of them strikeouts, without allowing a run to secure the win for Charleston.
The Greenville Drive kept pace with the RiverDogs early in the back-and-forth battle. The Drive struck for four runs in the second inning to take the lead following Charleston's 1-0 lead. Greenville's final run came in the fourth inning on a Rafael De Paula wild pitch, scoring Aneury Tavarez who led the inning off with a single. Tavarez finished the game going 2-for-4 with a single, triple, two runs scored and an RBI.
Greenville starter Frank Montas went four innings and allowed three runs on seven hits. Montas threw very hard looked good, but needed 80 pitches to get through his four innings of work. Montas struckout six on the night and walked two. He was relieved by Austin Maddox to start the fifth. Maddox (0-5) took the loss as he pitched the final five innings. He allowed seven runs, all earned on nine hits and struckout three.
The RiverDogs return home to The Joe to close out the first half of the season as they welcome in the Augusta GreenJackets for a crucial five game series. At 6:05pm on Thursday, the RiverDogs and GreenJackets will resume their suspended game from April 14th that ended with the score tied going to the top of the 14th inning due to rain. Following the conclusion of that game, our regularly scheduled game will take place against Augusta starting at either 7:05pm or 30 minutes following the final pitch of the suspended game; whichever comes last. Starters for the suspended game are TBD for both squads. In game two, the RiverDogs will send LHP Evan Rutckyj (6-3, 4.79 ERA) to the mound as Augusta counters with RHP Martin Agosta (6-2, 2.19 ERA). For tickets and information, call (843) 577-3647, stop by the Riley Park Box Office, or visit www.riverdogs.com.