An error and a passed ball helped the Greenville Drive score the winning run in the ninth inning of the Drive's 2-1 victory over the Charleston RiverDogs on Tuesday evening in front of 3,314 fans at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park in South Atlantic League action.
The RiverDogs dropped to 33-31 in the second half and 66-68 overall. The Drive rose to 23-41 and 57-76, respectively. Greenville also took a 1-0 lead in this three-game series.
Tzu-Wei Lin delivered a triple in the third inning to give Greenville a 1-0 lead. Cole Sturgeon extended the frame with a two-out walk against Justin Kamplain. Lin tripled down the right field line, driving in Sturgeon from first base. This was the only run that Kamplain allowed while pitching a career-high 4.2 innings. He also tied a personal high with six strikeouts.
Charleston broke up a no-hitter and a shutout in the fifth inning, tying the game at 1-1. Claudio Custodio doubled off Daniel McGrath with one out and advanced to third base on a wild pitch. After a walk, Brandon Thomas brought in Custodio on a sacrifice fly. McGrath finished five frames with just the one hit and one run allowed.
The next few innings featured scoreless pitching from both bullpens. Charleston's Angel Rincon recorded 3.1 shutout innings in one of his longest appearances of the year. Greenville's Jason Garcia held the RiverDogs scoreless in his first three innings of work. Charleston threatened in the bottom of the eighth with a pair of runners in scoring position but was unable to score.
Sam Travis' strange journey around the bases in the ninth inning provided the winning run. Travis popped up down the third base line, but his foul ball was dropped to keep his plate appearance alive. Travis drew a walk from Stefan Lopez and was sacrificed to second base by Kevin Mager. A swinging strike by Jordan Procyshen led to a passed ball, allowing Travis to score from second base and push the Drive in front, 2-1.
In the bottom of the ninth, the RiverDogs came up empty handed in their quest for the tying run. Yeicok Calderon received a one-out walk, but he was put out on a game-ending double play that was turned by Lin and Travis.
Jason Garcia earned the win after his four shutout innings, increasing his record to 2-1. Lopez took a tough loss, falling to 1-3 with one unearned run allowed in one inning.
BALLPARK FUN: South Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh E. Weathers performed “The Star-Spangled Banner” before Tuesday's game. The College of Charleston lacrosse team made an appearance at The Joe, featuring a ceremonial first pitch that was delivered with a lacrosse stick. There was a Lucky Buddha sampling on the concourse, and Lucky Buddha beer was also served in the Ashley View Pub.
COMING UP: Game two of this three-game series will be on Wednesday at 7:05pm. Charleston RHP Gabe Encinas (0-3, 6.94 ERA) will square off against Greenville RHP Ty Buttrey (0-4, 7.20 ERA). ISPHI Military Appreciation Night invites all military members and their immediate families to the game for free. It is also the final HealthSouth Senior Wednesday, presented by MeTV. Tickets may be purchased at the Riley Park Box Office, (843) 577-DOGS (3647) or on-line at www.riverdogs.com. If fans cannot make it to the ballpark, they are encouraged to tune in to all the action this year both home and away worldwide on www.riverdogs.com and locally on 1250 WTMA, the new radio home for RiverDogs baseball.