Catcher Donny Sands launched a bases clearing double off the left field monster in the opening inning, and Freicer Perez yielded just one hit across five innings of two-run ball as the Charleston RiverDogs opened a four-game road trip with a 5-2 victory over Greenville on Thursday night at Fluor Field.
Perez (7-3) made up for shaky command with electric stuff, not allowing a hit until the fifth inning when Greenville did all their scoring on the night. The 6’8” righty walked four batters, including three in a row in the fourth, but left the bases loaded to escape one of a handful of jams on the evening. The Yankees’ No. 26 prospect has not allowed more than two earned runs in each of his last 12 starts, a span in which he has logged a 1.91 ERA.
After four hitless innings, second baseman Steven Reveles punched a ground ball through the right side to lead off the frame, later scoring after Perez hit a batter and a wild pitch and passed ball were both issued. Shortstop Santiago Espinal collected the Drive’s only RBI with a ground out to second base to cut the lead in half to 4-2.
The RiverDogs got a key insurance run in the eighth. Left fielder Carlos Vidal launched a one-out double to right center to set up the rally. Third baseman Oswaldo Cabrera sacrificed Vidal over with a bunt, and Charleston got the tally that made it a three-run game when reliever Hunter Smith threw the ball away into foul territory.
With the win, Charleston builds a 2.5 game lead in the Southern Division second half standings and retain the best record in the South Atlantic League since the All-Star break. The victory marked Charleston's tenth in their last 14 games.
Sands matched a season-high with his fourth three RBI game this year. First baseman Brandon Wagner walked three times to match a career-best, and centerfielder Estevan Florial and Cabrera each enjoyed two-hit nights. Florial is now 13 for his last 26 (.500) at the plate.
The Charleston bullpen turned in four more scoreless frames, lowering the bullpen ERA to a 1.96 mark. David Sosebee converted his ninth save of the season with a perfect ninth inning of relief with two strikeouts; it was the former Georgia Bulldogs sixth consecutive outing where he logged a save.
Lefty Darwinzon Hernandez (3-2) suffered the loss, walking a season-high five batters across four innings and allowing four runs. The Venezuelan southpaw walked two of the first four batters he faced to open the ballgame to set up Sands’ decisive double.
Charleston made it a 4-0 game in the second. Cabrera singled to lead off and later scored on second baseman Diego Castillo’s sac fly to center.
The RiverDogs continue the series with the Drive on Friday night at 7:05pm. Charleston will send right-hander and former fourth round pick Nick Nelson (1-7, 4.96) to the bump as Greenville counters with last year’s 12th overall pick, southpaw Jay Groome (1-3, 10.47). The game can be tuned into on “The Big Talker” WTMA 1250 AM and online streaming audio via riverdogs.com and the RiverDogs TuneIn Radio app station.