Shortstop Wilkerman Garcia pulled the third pitch of the ballgame down the right field line for a home run and former Citadel southpaw JP Sears turned in four shutout frames in his first professional start as the RiverDogs took down the Grasshoppers, 4-2, to snap a three-game skid on Saturday night at First National Bank Field.
Garcia got the RiverDogs (7-9) on the board first with their 12th opening inning run this season, a fastball yanked down the right field line for the Venezuelan’s first home run of the season.
The early offense backed a solid debut outing for Sears, recently returned from the seven-day disabled list, as the Palmetto State native retired the first 11 Greensboro (9-6) hitters of the ballgame while striking out five in four one-hit innings.
In a scheduled pairing with Sears, Daniel Ramos (2-1) took it the next 4 1/3 and yielded a two-run blast to designated hitter Eric Gutierrez to snap the shutout in the ninth that made it 4-2.
The victory snapped a streak of four consecutive games decided by one-run played by the RiverDogs, a period in which they had lost the previous three. Matt Wivinis came on to pin down his league-leading fifth save in as many chances after recording the final two outs.
Charleston added to their one-run lead in the third. Left fielder Frederick Cuevas’ leadoff single scored two batters later on an RBI ground out by second baseman Oswaldo Cabrera.
The RiverDogs got a pair of unearned tallies in sixth and seventh to stretch their advantage to the largest of the night, 4-0. After Chris Hess was plunked in the sixth, he went first to third on a single by Leonardo Molina that was mishandled in center by Aaron Knapp. After first baseman Dalton Blaser bounded one to Marcos Rivera, Hess scored after being caught in a pickle on a botched exchange by the Greensboro third baseman.
Garcia reached again in the seventh, this time via his second walk, before stealing second, advancing on a passed ball, and scoring on a wild pitch.
The RiverDogs needed just three hits off Marlins No. 12 prospect Edward Cabrera (0-2) and just five total in the ballgame snap out of their slide.
-per Charleston RiverDogs