For the second straight night, the Charleston RiverDogs found themselves in a tie ballgame heading to the bottom of the eighth inning, but let one slip away. With a two-run eighth frame, the Greenville Drive surged past the RiverDogs, 4-2, to hand Charleston their fourth consecutive loss on Friday night at Fluor Field.
The RiverDogs (26-28) were trailing 2-1 heading into the sixth inning when right fielder Isiah Gilliam bombed a solo shot to right-center field, his fifth home run of the season, that traveled a projected 450 feet according to Trackman. The Atlanta, Ga native’s towering shot was one of the 10 hits for Charleston who outhit the Drive 10-7 in the loss.
The four-game losing streak matches a season-long skid for the RiverDogs while Greenville (34-20) stakes their lead to 8.0 games up on fifth-place Charleston with their league-best record.
The contest stayed tied at two apiece heading into the eighth when reliever Trevor Lane (4-2, 1.01) walked second baseman Nick Lovullo to begin the inning. Lorenzo Cedrola bunted to sacrifice Lovullo over before a missed catch by Lane covering at first allowed shortstop Santiago Espinal to reach and put runners at the corners for the Drive with one away. Right fielder Ryan Scott put the Drive ahead with an RBI groundout to first, and Tyler Hill made it 4-2 on a single to right field.
Freicer Perez logged his third consecutive strong outing, allowing two runs, both earned, across 5 2/3 innings before being relieved by Lane. The 6’8” right-hander fanned five batters while walking one. The Dominican Republic native has now gone at least 5 2/3 innings in his last three starts after failing to pitch into the sixth inning in his first six outings of the year.
The RiverDogs took a quick lead in the top of the first when left fielder Estevan Florial and second baseman Diego Castillo opened the ballgame with consecutive singles before Florial scored on a ground out by Hoy Jun Park.
Greenville tied the game on an RBI single by Santiago Espinal in the third, and took their first lead on a run-scoring double off the bat of first baseman Tucker Tubbs in the fourth.
The RiverDogs continue the Spinx Battle for the Palmetto State against the Drive on Saturday night at 7:05pm from Fluor Field. Charleston will roll out lefty Phillip Diehl (5-1, 4.33) to face southpaw Kyle Hart (1-0, 2.12) taking the mound for the Drive. The RiverDogs return home for a brief three-game homestand against Asheville starting on Tuesday at The Joe.