CHARLESTON, SC - Designated hitter Chris Hess collected three hits and an RBI, but the Greenville Drive completed the three-game sweep against the Charleston RiverDogs, 3-2, as 5,629 made their way to Riley Park for the Sunday evening homestand finale.
Charleston (50-53, 17-18) struck first with an opening inning, two-out rally where first baseman Dermis Garcia walked before Hess laced an RBI double down the left field line off Greenville (46-59, 21-15) starter Hildemaro Requena. Hess would be one of 10 Charleston runners left stranded in the one-run defeat, including seven in scoring position.
Hess finished 3-for-4 with a pair of two baggers and a run, and he was stranded on-deck as the potential winning run to end the game. The Southern Division All-Star infielder was 2-for-20 in the first six games of the homestand with eight strikeouts and had been hitting just .183 in the second-half entering Sunday.
The Drive responded to the Dogs' first inning tally with three runs off Roansy Contreras (0-2) in the second. The first five batters reached, but the 18-year-old was able to strand two additional Greenville runners in scoring position. The three-run inning was the lone blemish on the Dominican native's line as he allowed one hit over the other four scoreless frames.
Right-hander Daniel Ramos pitched the final four innings, hanging all zeroes and striking out four Drive hitters. Ramos has not allowed an earned run in eight of his last nine relief appearances. Excluding a five-run meltdown in less than two innings in Rome, the 23-year-old has 19 innings with just one unearned run going back to June 7.
The RiverDogs got their second run in the eighth inning, when Hess scored on a Welfrin Mateo single. Mateo went 2-for-3 with a double but was stranded in scoring position all four times through the lineup.
Charleston started the homestand 3-1 with a series victory over Augusta before getting swept by Greenville. The Drive and Dogs were second and third in the standings and were separated by a half game to start the series, but Greenville took over as the Southern Division leaders and now lead Charleston by 3 1/2 games.
Sunday's final marked the Holy City's 44th one-run game, the most of any team in the SAL, and contests which they have gone 19-25 in.