The RiverDogs bullpen kept the game within reach, but the offense could not mount a comeback as the Greenville relievers slammed the door and Charleston fell to the Drive in game two, 3-2, on Friday night at Joe Riley Park in front of 4,406 fans.
Charleston (59-51, 25-15) reliever Hobie Harris worked out of a two-on, no-out situation by striking out the next three batters in the eighth. The Pitt product combined with David Sosebee to leave two more left on in the ninth, keeping the game within reach, but Greenville’s pen was just as dominant.
The RiverDogs (59-51, 25-15) bats went quiet after the fifth as Joan Martinez tossed three perfect innings with five strikeouts and Hunter Smith slammed the door for his eighth save of the year with a 1-2-3 ninth.
Despite the loss, the RiverDogs remain in first-place with the best second-half record in the league and will hold at least a 2.5 game lead over Asheville heading into Saturday’s action.
Charleston starter Rony Garcia (0-2) took the loss, allowing just three unearned runs in his 6 2/3 innings of work with three errors committed by the RiverDogs defense behind him.
Greenville (61-48, 20-20) struck first in the third inning. Designated hitter Jerry Downs doubled to right then scored on a throwing error by RiverDogs shortstop Oswaldo Cabrera.
In the fourth, errors again came back to hurt Charleston. Third baseman Bobby Dalbec reached on a second miscue charged to Cabrera. After two wild pitches from Garcia, Dalbec scored as second baseman Brett Netzer reached on a fielder’s choice as the throw from second baseman Chris Hess to home pulled catcher Donny Sands off the plate.
Charleston got both their runs in the bottom half of the fourth. Right fielder Isiah Gilliam led off with a single then moved up 90 feet to second from a Sands ground out. Left fielder Steven Sensley singled to put runners at the corners before a wild pitch got the RiverDogs on the board. Third baseman Dermis Garcia got his third RBI as a RiverDog as he hammered a double to left.
The RiverDogs celebrated all the one-hit wonder songs on Friday evening along with post-game fireworks presented by Home Telecom. The Charleston Baseball Hall of Fame inducted four new members with the Class of 2017, honoring Citadel slugger Phil Hartig, CofC pitcher Ryan Johnson, CSU Buc and former RiverDog R.J. Swindle, and umpire John Couch pregame.
The RiverDogs play game three of the series tomorrow night at 6:05. Charleston will send to the hill right-hander Alexander Vargas (0-2, 2.37) to face Greenville’s right-hander Bryan Mata (3-4, 3.29). 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. Pregame coverage starts at 5:30.