Shortstop Diego Castillo broke a scoreless tie with an RBI single in the seventh as part of a 3-hit night and the RiverDogs hung on to force a decisive Game Three with a 2-1 win over the Greenville Drive on Friday night at Fluor Field.
Charleston (1-1) stranded eight men on base in total, including leaving the bases loaded in both the first and third innings, before breaking open the contest in the seventh. Centerfielder Dom Thompson-Williams led off the inning with a base hit into right before being sacrificed over by newcomer Jose Carrera who gave himself up to set up the go-ahead knock into right that scored Thompson-Williams on a play at the plate. First baseman Brandon Wagner added a crucial insurance tally in the following at-bat by cranking a double to left-center to make it 2-0 RiverDogs.
After Greenville (1-1) cut the lead in half with a run in the eighth, righty Matt Wivinis came on for a pulse-pounding save in the ninth. After coaxing a ground ball out of Ryan Scott for an out, the Drive got some momentum behind them when left fielder Pedro Castellanos reached on an error, a routine pop up dropped by Castillo. Wivinis would strike out the next two batters, Tucker Tubbs and Jagger Rusconi, to pick up his first postseason save.
Charleston roped nine hits two days after being held to just two in the series opening loss at The Joe. Castillo finished the night 3-for-5 while Wagner carried his weight with a 2-for-4 performance with a walk.
Righty Rony Garcia set the tone for the RiverDogs early, spinning 5 1/3 shutout innings with five strikeouts and no walks while leaving six baserunners stranded in a no-decision.
Luis Cedeno (1-0) gave up the lone run in the eighth when a leadoff double by the Drive's second baseman Brett Netzer came around to score on two subsequent ground outs. Right fielder Isiah Gilliam saved a run with a stumbling catch in the gap to rob third baseman Bobby Dalbec of a hit and maintain the one-run lead.
Lefty Brendan Nail (0-1) gave up the Drive lead in just his fourth professional game, taking the loss with two runs allowed on four hits.
Greenville went a collective 0-for-9 as a team with runners in scoring position.
The RiverDogs take on the Drive in a decisive game three on Saturday night at 7:05. Charleston will turn to righty Nick Green (8-9, 4.49) to the hill. Greenville will send right-hander Hildemaro Requena (11-3, 1.98). The winner advances to the best-of-five South Atlantic League Championship series in Kannapolis who swept the first-round two games to none over Greensboro. The game can be tuned into on "The Big Talker" WTMA 1250 AM and online with streaming audio via riverdogs.com and the RiverDogs' TuneIn Radio app station.