In a doubleheader split on Tuesday night, Gosuke Katoh brought in the go-ahead run to start a five-run rally in a 6-1 Charleston RiverDogs victory in the opener over the Savannah Sand Gnats in front of 2,846 fans at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park in South Atlantic League action. Savannah claimed the nightcap in a 2-0 two-hit shutout although Charleston’s Rookie Davis retired 13 consecutive batters at one stretch in his first professional quality start.
The RiverDogs are 2-4 in the second half and 35-41 overall. The Sand Gnats have records of 3-3 and 47-25, respectively. This four-game series is currently tied with one win each.
In the opener, Charleston took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning. Michael O’Neill opened the inning by reaching second base on a throwing error. O’Neill would score on a one-out ground ball from Dustin Fowler that was coupled with a fielding error.
Savannah tied the game at 1-1 in the top of the second. A leadoff double by Dominic Smith was followed by back-to-back outs before Yeixon Ruiz tripled and scored Smith for the tying run.
Katoh led a five-run RiverDogs rally in the sixth to go in front. Miguel Andujar reached on a one-out single and scored when Katoh hit a double. Later in the frame, Katoh scored during a single by Tyler Wade. Dustin Fowler answered with a three-run home run, his fifth blast of the season, to give Charleston a 6-1 lead that it would not relinquish.
Brett Gerritse won his 2014 RiverDogs debut, going to 1-0 with two scoreless innings of relief to finish the game. Ricky Knapp took the loss and is 2-5. Katoh went 2-for-3 in the victory.
During the doubleheader finale, the Sand Gnats took a one-run lead in the second inning. With one out, Matt Oberste collected a single ahead of Jorge Rivero. A double by Rivero scored Oberste from first base for a 1-0 Savannah advantage.
Immediately after the Sand Gnats went ahead, Davis shut down Savannah’s next 13 batters in a row. The streak ended with back-to-back singles in the sixth, but Davis closed the frame with a strikeout. Davis struck out five in a career-high six innings pitched in his first quality start.
Savannah pitchers Dario Alvarez, Hunter Carnevale, and Akeel Morris combined for the two-hit shutout. Alvarez earned 10 strikeouts in 4.1 innings pitched before Carnevale kept Charleston scoreless through the sixth inning. Morris struck out the side in the seventh inning to finish the game after Savannah scored a run in the top of the frame on a wild pitch.
Carnevale is now 2-0 after receiving credit for the victory. Davis was charged with a loss to drop back to 3-7. Morris earned his fifth save in as many attempts.
BALLPARK FUN: Tuesday’s long day of action took place on “Terrible Tuesday.” Musical selections included “MMMBop” by Hanson, “Friday” by Rebecca Black, and William Hung’s cover of “She Bangs.”Ballpark entertainment featured a grass-growing contest by the two sections of foul territory, a race against a rock, and a “fireworks show” between games that consisted of sparklers being carried across the outfield.
COMING UP: Game three of this four-game series is set for 7:05pm on Wednesday. RiverDogs LHP Chaz Hebert (0-0, 8.44 ERA) will face Sand Gnats RHP Robert Gsellman (5-3, 2.79 ERA). HealthSouth Senior Wednesday, presented by MeTV, offers a food voucher for all seniors who enter The Joe before 7pm, covering a free hot dog, bag of chips, and a 16-ounce fountain drink. “Dogs with a Cause” will support SC Advocates for Epilepsy. 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 on www.riverdogs.com and locally on 1250 WTMA, the new radio home for RiverDogs baseball.