Charleston starter Freicer Perez yielded just one hit through a season-long seven innings, and the Charleston RiverDogs stranded 11 runners before plating the go-ahead tally in the tenth as they hung on to take a 2-1 victory over the Greenville Drive on Thursday night at Fluor Field to open the second half of the season.
The RiverDogs (35-36, 1-0) left matched a season-high by stranding 12 men total in the game and outhit the Drive 11-5, failing to provide Perez the run support for his third win of the season.
Charleston finally broke through in the fourth inning to take a 1-0 lead. Left fielder Blake Rutherford roped a double down the right field line before centerfielder Estevan Florial cranked a triple, his fourth of the year, off the right-center wall to bring him home.
The towering Dominican right-hander took a no-hit bid into the fourth before Greenville (41-29, 0-1) finally got to Perez to tie the game. Right fielder Ryan Scott singled to left-center to lead off the frame. Isias Lucena bounced into a fielder’s choice where Hoy Jun Park threw from the seat of his pants at second to get the lead runner. Mitchell Gunsolus followed with a walk before Steven Reveles tied the ballgame up with an RBI ground out to short.
Isiah Gilliam drove in the eventual game-winner with a fielder’s choice in the top of the tenth. Rutherford singled into left and Florial reached on an error. Catcher Donny Sands laid down the first sacrifice bunt of his pro career to move the runners over before Gilliam hit a ground ball to second that Santiago Espinal threw home too late to catch Rutherford, giving Charleston a 2-1 advantage.
The RiverDogs had numerous opportunities to take the lead prior to the extra frame. In the seventh, Charleston loaded up the bases with one out for Rutherford before the California native bounced into a double play at short. The RiverDogs had their leadoff man reach in seven of the ten innings on the night, but only produced the two runs.
Phillip Diehl (7-2) tossed 2.1 scoreless innings of relief to pick up the win, lowering his ERA to 3.58. After walking the second batter he faced in the tenth, Garrett Mundell closed out the game by stranding runners at the corners to garner his seventh save of the season.
Mid-season All-Stars Park and Florial each produced three-hit games for Charleston.
Perez has now allowed just six earned runs across his last six starts spanning 36.1 innings (1.49 ERA).
-per Charleston RiverDogs