Charleston RiverDogs infielder Mike Ford’s career-high and team-best 15-game on-base streak ended as Kevin McGowan pitched a personal-best seven scoreless innings in a 6-0 two-hit shutout for the Savannah Sand Gnats on Monday evening at Historic Grayson Stadium in South Atlantic League action.
Charleston is now 23-20 this season as Savannah goes up to 29-14. The RiverDogs still lead this series at 2-1 heading into Tuesday’s series finale.
The Sand Gnats scored two runs in the first inning to take the lead. Patrick Biondi singled against Charleston’s Ian Clarkin in the bottom of the first and came in on Jeff McNeil’s one-out double for a 1-0 Savannah lead. McNeil stole third base before a walk to L.J. Mazzilli and scored on a single by Dominic Smith to put the Sand Gnats up 2-0.
Savannah’s lead grew to 6-0 with two more two-run innings. In the second inning, Jorge Rivero hit his first home run of the season, a two-run clout to left field. Mazzilli opened the third with a solo blast to center field while Champ Stuart drove in Victor Cruzado with a two-out single later in the frame.
The RiverDogs only mustered two hits against McGowan during his career performance. Aaron Judge doubled off the right field wall to open the fourth inning but was stranded after three straight outs. Tyler Wade collected a leadoff single in the sixth and worked his way to third base before an inning-ending fly out. McGowan has not allowed an earned run in his last 25.1 innings pitched after a career-high seven innings on Monday.
Both bullpens pitched well to finish the contest. RiverDogs reliever Jordan Cote followed Clarkin with four shutout innings in his longest outing of the season. Paul Paez hurled two scoreless frames for Savannah and completed the two-hitter.
McGowan improves to 2-1 with the victory. Clarkin gave up all six Savannah runs and has an even 1-1 record for Charleston.
COMING UP: The finale of this four-game series will be at 7:05pm on Tuesday. RiverDogs RHP Jaron Long (2-1, 2.59 ERA) is scheduled to face Sand Gnats RHP Ricky Knapp (2-2, 3.41 ERA). The RiverDogs follow this road stretch with an eight-game homestand at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park. “Re-Opening Night” is on tap for a May 27 doubleheader with the Greenville Drive at 6:05pm while “Bark for Your Brew” on June 1 precedes the homestand finale against the Asheville Tourists. Tickets may be purchased at the Riley Park Box Office, (843) 577-DOGS (3647) or on-line atwww.riverdogs.com. If fans cannot make it to the ballpark, they are encouraged to tune in to all the action this year both home and away worldwide on www.riverdogs.com and locally on 1250 WTMA, the new radio home for RiverDogs baseball.