Right fielder Steven Sensley roped a go-ahead grand slam in the eighth inning that gave Charleston their first lead of the night as the RiverDogs topped the Drive 5-2 on Wednesday evening in front of 2,939 fans at Joe Riley Park.
Sensley’s blast was the former Ragin' Cajun’s fourth homer in 14 games with the RiverDogs, and the 13th of his pro career since being drafted by the Yankees out of Louisiana-Lafayette in June. Trailing 2-0, the eighth inning rally began when second baseman Vince Conde reached via a walk. Left fielder Dom Thompson-Williams doubled to put runners on second and third. Shortstop Diego Castillo walked to load the bases before Isiah Gilliam put the RiverDogs on the board with an RBI single to center. Sensley broke the game wide open with the second Charleston grand slam of the season, pushing the RiverDogs out to a 5-2 lead.
With the win, Charleston (67-54, 33-18) secures the Palmetto State Rivalry Series with a 12-10 record over Greenville (68-52, 27-25) heading into Thursday’s finale. With an Asheville loss, the RiverDogs hold a 6.0 game lead in first place in the Southern Division with 19 games to play.
RiverDogs starter Rony Garcia was electric through 6 and 1/3 innings, allowing just one run on one hit with six strikeouts, but did not factor in the decision.
Braden Bristo (1-0) got his first win, coming in for relief of Garcia in the seventh. He surrendered one run on four hits with one walk. Garcia was charged for a run in the seventh as Bristo inherited a leadoff walk before surrendering an RBI single to second baseman Jagger Rusconi that got the Drive on the board.
Chase Hodson allowed two baserunners in the ninth but worked out of a jam for his first save of the season.
Drive’s reliever Hunter Smith (2-3) surrendered the loss after surrendering all five runs on four hits.
The first 500 fans through the gates received RiverDogs drawstring bags as part of a Wardrobe Wednesday giveaway presented by 103.5 WEZL and ABC News 4. Seniors enjoyed ticket vouchers to eat free and ran the bases following the game.
The RiverDogs wrap up their final game against Greenville this season Thursday night at 7:05. Charleston will send Alexander Vargas (0-2, 2.55) to face Greenville’s southpaw, Jay Groome (3-5, 6.27). 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.