In a back-and-forth battle Monday evening, Greenville topped Charleston 7-6 at Fluor Field at the West End in South Atlantic League action.
With the loss, the RiverDogs fall to 3-2 in the second half and move into a second place tie with the Augusta GreenJackets in the Southern Division. Overall the RiverDogs record sits at 42-31. With the victory, Greenville improves to 2-3 in the second half and 24-50 overall and are in a tie for third place in the Southern Division.
It was another great battle between the future Yankees and future Red Sox on Monday evening. With Greenville's win, the season series sits at 10-9 in favor of the RiverDogs with every game seeming just as close as Monday's contest.
Greenville struck first with two runs in the third and another in the fourth. Charleston then got on the board in with a run of their own in the fifth before Greenville scored again in the sixth to get their lead back to three runs.
The final three innings of the game were where the intensity really picked up. Greg Bird hit a three run homer, his sixth of the year. All six of Bird's long balls have come at Fluor Field in Greenville. With the game tied at four, Greenville untied things with a run of their own in the bottom half of the seventh and then stretched the lead further with two more runs in the eighth.
Charleston looked to rally in the ninth, but scored twice and came up a run short. Offensively, the Dogs were led by Aaron Gates and Dante Bichette Jr., who both had a pair of hits. Greg Bird finished his evening 1-for-4 with two runs scored, a homer and three driven in. With Bird's homer he extended his hitting streak to a season best eight games.
Danny Oh saw his seven game hitting streak come to an end with an 0-for-4 night.
RiverDogs starter Cesar Vargas got a no-decision on a night where he was very shaky. Vargas went five innings and allowed three runs on six hits and struckout five while allowing four walks. Vargas was then relieved by John Brebbia who went one inning and allowed a run on one hit and two walks. Ben Paullus (3-2) took the loss as he relieved Brebbia and went 1.1 innings and allowed three runs, two earned on four hits. Derek Varnadore came in to get the final two outs for Charleston.
Greenville Drive starter Justin Haley got into a few jams but came out with a solid final line as the right-hander went five innings and allowed a run on two hits, he struckout six and walked four. Picking up the win while also blowing a save chance was Gerado Olivares (2-2) who lasted two innings and allowed three runs on three hits and struckout four while walking one. Olivares was then relieved by Jeffrey Wendelken who picked up his fifth save as he went two innings and allowed two runs on three hits with two strikeouts.
Offensively the Drive were led by their 1-2-3-4 hitters who went a combined 6-for-15. Mookie Betts, Keaton Briscoe, David Chester and Mario Martinez helped carry the way at the top of the order as they drove in five of the seven Greenville runs and scored three as well.
Felix Sanchez also faired well in the nine hole going 1-for-2 with two runs scored and an RBI.
Game two of this three game series is scheduled for Tuesday morning at 11:05am at Fluor Field at the West End in Greenville. Charleston sends LHP Evan Rutckyj (7-4, 4.21 ERA) to the mound as Greenville counters with RHP Luis Diaz (1-4, 4.67 ERA). You can listen to the game live locally on ESPN 910 AM or online at www.riverdogs.com.