The RiverDogs avoided a shutout with three runs in the ninth inning, but could not overcome a 6-0 deficit including four in the sixth inning as they dropped the opener to the Greenville Drive 6-3 on Thursday evening in front of 5,280 fans at Joe Riley Park.
Left fielder Isiah Gilliam cranked three doubles and drove in a run as part of a 3-for-4 night in the losing effort. Designated hitter Carlos Vidal went 2-for-4 with a double of his own to continue his run of a .351 (33-94) average since his return from a rehab assignment on July 1.
Charleston (59-50, 25-14) scored all their runs in the ninth, not going down easily. Vidal led off with a single then the next two batters reached, including an RBI double from Gilliam, his team leading 27th of the season. Right fielder Steven Sensley grounded out to bring in a run and first baseman Dermis Garcia singed for the third and final run of the inning.
Greenville (60-48, 19-20) made it 1-0 in the third inning as they squeaked a run across on an error. Charleston starter Nick Nelson (2-8) did not allow a hit in the inning, but Steven Reveles reached on a fielder’s choice ground out before advancing a base off a wild pitch then to third on a fly out. He scored as shortstop Santiago Espinal chopped one past the glove of RiverDogs shortstop Oswaldo Cabrera.
After getting one more in the fifth, the Drive took control in the sixth. Nelson gave up back-to-back hits then surrendered a three-run homer to right fielder Ryan Scott before getting replaced by Christian Morris. The former Indiana Hoosier gave up a base hit to first baseman Tucker Tubbs who then scored on an RBI single from Reveles.
Greenville spot starter Daniel Gonzalez (7-2) went seven innings, blanking the RiverDogs and allowing just three hits and four strikeouts.
Fans enjoyed a Thirsty Thursday out at The Joe with dollar beers presented by Budweiser and 95SX as well as music in the Ashley View Pup from DJ Natty Heavy. The RiverDogs also delivered a party to armed forces personal on Military Appreciation Night.
The RiverDogs play game two of the series tomorrow night at 7:05. Charleston will send to the hill right-hander Rony Garcia (0-1, 2.22) to face Greenville’s righty Hildemaro Requena (5-3, 2.73). The game can be tuned into on “The Big Talker” WTMA 1250 AM, on MiLB.tv, and online streaming audio via riverdogs.com and the RiverDogs TuneIn Radio app station.