CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston needed a win Sunday afternoon to help its playoff chances on the final day of the half, and a late error aided its cause and helped the Dogs edge the Greenville Drive 2-1 in front of 4,532 at Joe Riley Park.
Charleston (37-33) left fielder Matt Pita, hitting below the Mendoza line entering play Sunday, utilized his speed to create the go-ahead run in the bottom of the seventh inning. He led off the frame with an 11-pitch at-bat against Drive (32-38) reliever Oddanier Mosqueda (2-2, 2.48) that ended in him taking a cut and coming up empty at strike three. The ball got by catcher Alan Marrero and went to the backstop, though, and Pita beat the throw to first base.
Eduardo Torrealba hit into a productive first out of the frame, grounding out to second baseman Everlouis Lozada but getting Pita to second base in the process. That brought the RiverDogs’ All-Star center fielder Brandon Lockridge to the plate with the go-ahead run in scoring position.
Lockridge didn’t have to swing the bat. Pita took off for third and made it safely on the offering to the plate, marking his second stolen base in his brief stint with Charleston, and was able to scamper home when third baseman Brandon Howlett couldn’t handle the throw to give Charleston a 2-1 lead.
Starter Luis Gil didn’t have his best stuff in the series finale, allowing a career-high eight hits through his five innings of work, but he deserves credit for navigating a tremendous amount of traffic with only the one run allowed. He allowed Greenville’s only tally in the top of the third, when Red Sox top prospect Triston Casas lined an 0-2 mistake from Gil into the left field corner, plating Everlouis Lozada with an RBI triple to put his club ahead 1-0.
Charleston got the tying run across in the home half of the frame, when the Yankees’ 2018 first-round pick Anthony Seigler came through with a bloop single to left field to drive Lockridge home and even the game at one run apiece.
Charleston received spectacular work out of the ‘pen from Tanner Myatt (1-1, 1.64) and Daniel Bies, as the duo combined for four scoreless innings with just one hit allowed and two punchouts. Bies nailed down his second save of the season in the winning effort.
Despite Charleston’s victory, the Columbia Fireflies couldn’t pull out a win against the Lexington Legends at Segra Park. The Kansas City affiliate clinched the South Atlantic League Southern division title with the victory over the RiverDogs’ in-state rival.
The last game of the first half occurred on Father’s Day, as well as another MUSC Health Family Sunday. Fans who got to The Joe early got to come onto the field and play catch to kick off their Father’s Day activities, and kids who showed up got to eat for free and run the bases after the game. To top it off, everyone who drove to the ballpark enjoyed free parking.
After wrapping up the first half of the season, most of the team gets a couple of days off before the second half opener on the road in Hickory, North Carolina Thursday night. Brandon Lockridge, Josh Stowers, Canaan Smith, Josh Breaux, Luis Gil, Alexander Vizcaino and Mickey Gasper will make the trip to Charleston, West Virginia to take park in the 2019 All Star Game festivities. Lockridge and Smith will square off with some of the South Atlantic League’s most feared power hitters in the Home Run Derby, which will take place shortly before the All Star Game itself.