CHARLESTON, S.C. – A back-and-forth affair reached a tipping point in the top of the tenth inning, as the Greenville Drive eventually prevailed over the Charleston RiverDogs 7-6 in front of 5,790 at Joe Riley Park.
RiverDogs (36-32) center fielder Brandon Lockridge hit a historic, game-tying solo shot in the bottom of the eighth inning to complete a relentless rally that saw Charleston score four unanswered runs to take a 6-5 lead. Greenville (31-37) kept its cool, though, and rallied right back for a pair of runs in the ninth and tenth innings to eventually take the second of the four-game set.
At the time of Lockridge’s home run, the Dogs sat tied with the Drive at 5 runs apiece after sending nine men to the plate in the bottom of the fifth inning and scoring three times. Max Burt drove Anthony Seigler and Canaan Smith home on a bloop single that found the outfield grass between center fielder Cole Brannen and second baseman Everlouis Lozada to bring Charleston to within a run.
Kyle Gray struck out following Burt’s knock, but Omar Carrizales came through with a single back up the middle to score Mickey Gasper and tie the game at five.
The game stayed scoreless through the next two and a half frames before Brandon Lockridge stepped to the plate in the bottom of the eighth inning. He crushed a 2-2 hanging pitch from Angel Padron over the left field wall to give the Dogs a 6-5 lead. The solo shot made Lockridge the 21st player in RiverDog to hit ten home runs and steal ten bases in a single season. The last such campaign came two years ago, when now-Yankees No. 1 overall prospect Estevan Florial swiped 17 bases and parked 11 home runs over 91 games with the Dogs in 2017.
The lead was short-lived, as Greenville took advantage of a leadoff walk and an error by Gray in the top of the ninth to push its sixth run across, again tying the contest.
The Drive took a 7-6 lead in the top of the 10th inning off Aaron McGarity (2-5, 3.81) after Alan Marrero scored on a sacrifice fly to left field by Everlouis Lozada. Logan Browning (3-1, 2.04) sealed the win for his club with two scoreless innings in relief.
Starter Roansy Contreras struggled through his four innings of work, running into trouble right from the get-go two runs scored in the top of the first inning on his watch, and two more came across in the third. Overall, the Yankees No. 7 prospect allowed five runs on nine hits and four walks. He fanned five Greenville hitters.
Before the three-run fifth, Charleston scored in the second and third innings on an RBI single by Eduardo Navas and a sacrifice fly by Burt, but its six runs weren’t quite enough.
With the loss and a walkoff win by the Augusta GreenJackets that pushed them to a 35-31 record, Charleston is no longer in control of its own destiny. It falls to share of first place with Augusta, but because the GreenJackets own the better winning percentage by virtue of two rainouts, a potential tiebreaker would favor Augusta.