Right-hander Nick Nelson turned in arguably his most dominant performance of the season, facing the minimum across seven two-hit innings, but the RiverDogs were shutout for the first time this season, 2-0, to the Greenville Drive on Sunday afternoon at Fluor Field.
Nelson, who had struck out a league-best 26 batters over his last three starts, showed more control and finesse to put away the Drive’s (5-19) lineup in seven nearly perfect innings. The Charleston (11-13) righty fanned five while allowing just a pair of singles. Greenville managed just three baserunners off the former fourth-round pick, all erased either by caught stealing or pickoffs.
The Drive got to the bullpen in the eighth as Kyle Zurak’s (0-1) first pitch in relief was clubbed to dead-center by Red Sox No. 10 prospect CJ Chatham for a triple. The Greenville designated hitter scored two batters later on the second three-bagger of the inning, a Marino Campana hit launched over the centerfielder Pablo Olivares, who was playing shallow, to plate the game’s first run. Second baseman Kervin Suarez lofted the next pitch out to left-center for a sacrifice fly that doubled the advantage to 2-0.
The RiverDogs squandered several chances to get on the board, stranding 10 baserunners in total in the game. They left the bases loaded with one out in the second and failed to bring across a run after the first two reached in the fifth. After back-to-back walks were drawn by David Metzgar and Dalton Blaser in the ninth with one out, Steven Sensley was brought in to pinch hit, but popped out to third on the only pitch he saw. Shortstop Wilkerman Garcia struck out against Devon Fisher for the final out, the first successful save conversion of the season for the league-worst Drive.
Greenville took two out of three on the weekend for their first series victory of the season.
After failing to get out of the second in his first start, Nelson has now allowed just three earned runs over his last four starts spanning 22 innings to lower his overall ERA to 3.65. The seven innings turned in was the longest outing of the Florida native’s professional career.
-per Charleston RiverDogs