Charleston righty Nick Nelson spun six innings of one-run ball while matching a career-high with seven strikeouts as the RiverDogs won their third in a row and their 11th in their last 15 games to top the Greenville Drive 6-1 on Friday night at Fluor Field.
Nelson (2-7) turned in his most dominant start of the year, taking a no-hit bid into the fifth inning and going six strong for the third time this season to match a career-high to pick up his second win.
The RiverDogs (57-46, 23-10) broke open a scoreless ballgame in the bottom of the third, taking advantage of some wildness from Red Sox first-rounder Jay Groome (1-4) who hit two batters and walked another to load up the bases with two outs before Charleston got a pair of key hits from two of their hottest hitters. Centerfielder Estevan Florial roped a laser into left field to drive in a pair and catcher Donny Sands tacked on two more with a knock into right-center, making it 4-0 RiverDogs in a flash.
First baseman Brandon Wagner walloped a one-out solo shot into the bullpen in right-center for his seventh homer of the season and fifth since the All-Star break to make it 5-0 RiverDogs. The Hopewell, N.J. is now 34-for-99 (.343) at the plate in 30 games in the second half.
Greenville (56-46, 15-18) broke up Nelson’s no-no with a leadoff homer by Bobby Dalbec in the home half of the fifth with an opposite field shot to right. Nelson would allow just one other hit the rest of the way, a two-out infield single that glanced off his heel from the bat of Santiago Espinal in the sixth.
Charleston pushed it back to a five-run lead in the sixth when left fielder Isiah Gilliam and third baseman Vince Conde hammered back-to-back doubles to open the inning.
Former Fresno State righty Garrett Mundell worked three scoreless innings in relief and was credited with his 11th save of the season, striking out five of the first six batters he faced. Charleston pitching twice struck out the side in the contest and racked up 12 total punch outs on the evening with no walks.
The RiverDogs continue the series with the Drive on Saturday night at 7:05pm. 19-year-old Charleston righty Rony Garcia (0-1, 1.99) will toe the rubber seeking his first Class A win, opposed by Greenville lefty Jhonathan Diaz (4-4, 5.19) in the third contest of a four-game tilt. 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.