In a lengthy back-and-forth contest that included a brief rain delay, Tyler Wade finished a six-run eighth inning with a bases-clearing triple that helped the Charleston RiverDogs take an 8-5 win over the Greenville Drive on Tuesday evening at Fluor Field at the West End in South Atlantic League action.
The RiverDogs are now 30-35 and have claimed a series victory with a 2-0 start to a three-game set. With a loss, the Drive drop to 30-34. The time of game was three hours and 36 minutes.
Charleston jumped ahead 1-0 in the first inning. Michael O’Neill singled to lead off the inning and reached second base with one out after a balk. Judge doubled to left field, scoring O’Neill as the RiverDogs took the lead.
The Drive escaped a jam in the top of the second before tying the game in the bottom of the frame. Eduardo de Oleo opened with a single, extending his team-best hit streak to nine straight games. After advancing to third on a Reymond Nunez double, de Oleo was thrown out at home on a fielder’s choice. Greenville kept Charleston scoreless and evened the score at 1-1 when Kendrick Perkins’ sacrifice fly scored Wendell Rijo in the home half of the inning.
Both teams scored during the third inning, creating a 2-2 tie. Andujar hit a solo home run to left-center field for the RiverDogs, clearing the wall to the right of Greenville’s version of the Green Monster. The Drive answered when Jimmy Rider tied the game during Carlos Asuaje’s single.
The Drive took a 3-2 lead in the fourth inning. Manuel Margot singled, stole second base, and scored on a triple from Perkins. Later in the frame, Jordan Weems was ejected for arguing a groundout that was later changed to a hit batter. His replacement, Zach Kapstein, was caught stealing after a strikeout on an inning-ending double play right before a 38-minute rain delay.
Greenville extended the advantage to 4-2 in the seventh. With two outs and runners on the corners, Asuaje once again drove in Rider with a single that stretched the Drive’s lead.
Charleston made its comeback in the top of the eighth. Jackson Valera led off with a single and was brought in by a Dustin Fowler triple. de Oleo walked ahead of Nunez, whose two-run double put the RiverDogs in front at 5-4. Gosuke Katoh received a walk and O’Neill was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Wade tripled to score all three runners, giving the RiverDogs an 8-4 lead.
The Drive attempted a comeback of its own at the end of the eighth inning. Margot and Perkins recorded back-to-back singles. After de Oleo picked off Perkins at first base, a fielding error on a fly ball allowed Margot to cross the plate and slice the deficit to 8-5. That was the last offensive action for Greenville and also for Perkins, who finished a home run shy of hitting for the cycle.
Eric Ruth earned the win in relief for Charleston, improving to 1-1. Greenville’s Ellis Jimenez was charged with the loss and is now 0-1. Philip Walby picked up his third save with scoreless relief in the final 1.1 innings pitched.
COMING UP: Game three of this series and this seven-game road trip will be on Wednesday at 7:05pm, featuring Charleston LHP Caleb Smith (4-5, 3.25 ERA) and Greenville RHP Teddy Stankiewicz (4-4, 4.18 ERA). The RiverDogs will return to Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park for the start of the second half of the season. On Thursday, June 19, Charleston will host the Minor League Baseball Game of the Week on CBS Sports Network against the Kannapolis Intimidators on another Budweiser Thirsty Thursday, presented by 95SX, with $1 drafts and DJ Natty Heavy. Tickets may be purchased at the Riley Park Box Office, (843) 577-DOGS (3647) or on-line at www.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 onwww.riverdogs.com and locally on 1250 WTMA, the new radio home for RiverDogs baseball.