The Charleston RiverDogs treated a sellout crowd of 5,579 fans with a 10-0 shutout victory over the Greenville Drive in Charleston's home finale on Thursday night in South Atlantic League action. Luis Niebla fired a personal-best seven scoreless innings while striking out seven to tie a career high.
The RiverDogs improved to 35-31 in the second half and 68-68 overall. The Drive slid to 23-43 this half and 57-78 this season. Charleston won this three-game series by a 2-1 margin.
Charleston's crowd of 5,579 fans was the largest attendance for a regular season home finale in at least the past decade. The RiverDogs drew 280,075 fans this season and set a team record with an average of 4,309 fans per contest.
Niebla's longest career outing was perhaps his finest. He needed only 79 pitches to complete seven shutout innings and match a career high with seven strikeouts. Niebla also retired the first six batters that he faced as well as the last 10 batters in a row.
A five-run rally in the first inning put the RiverDogs ahead for good. Claudio Custodio and Tyler Wade reached on walks before both runners scored on a one-out double from Miguel Andujar. A single from Yeicok Calderon and a walk for Brandon Thomas loaded up the bases. After a fly out, Jackson Valera ripped a bases-clearing double that drove in three runs.
Another pair of runs carried the lead to 7-0 in the fourth. A one-out single for Custodio and a two-out single from Michael O'Neill set up Andujar, who hit a single that was coupled with an error to score Custodio. Calderon answered with a single to bring in O'Neill.
In the fifth inning, Charleston stretched its advantage to 8-0. Gosuke Katoh reached on a leadoff walk and later scored during Wade's two-out single.
The RiverDogs scored twice in the sixth inning to take a 10-0 lead. Singles from Andujar, Calderon, and Thomas immediately filled the bases. Katoh launched a sacrifice fly that plated Andujar. Valera followed with a single to score Calderon.
Conor Mullee secured the shutout with two shutout innings in relief. A double play from Wade and Bubba Jones closed the eighth inning before Mullee hurled a perfect frame in the ninth.
Niebla claimed the victory and pushed his RiverDogs record to 3-1. Callahan suffered the loss and plummeted to 3-13 with the Drive.
BALLPARK FUN: Fan Appreciation Night featured RiverDogs fan pack giveaways and special video board messages from RiverDogs players, thanking the fans for their support throughout the season. College of Charleston Night was celebrated, including appearances from the Cougarettes and Clyde the Cougar. CofC baseball coach Monte Lee threw out a ceremonial first pitch, and the baseball team was recognized on the field for its run to the 2014 NCAA Super Regionals.
COMING UP: Charleston closes the 2014 season with a four-game series at the Augusta GreenJackets, starting on Friday at 7pm. RiverDogs RHP Rookie Davis (6-8, 5.10 ERA) will pitch against GreenJackets RHP Robert Ramer (3-4, 5.31 ERA). 2015 RiverDogs season tickets are on sale now. Call the RiverDogs at (843) 723-7241 for more information or to secure your season tickets today. If fans cannot make it to Augusta for the final RiverDogs road games in 2014, they are encouraged to tune in to all the action worldwide on www.riverdogs.com and locally on 1250 WTMA, the new radio home for RiverDogs baseball.
Box Score: http://atmilb.com/1paZ8RT
End-of-the-Year Attendance (Total (Average); Regular Season Home Finale):
2014 – 280,075 (4,309 avg.); 5,579 on August 28
2013 – 283,274 (4,292 avg.); 4,593 on September 2
2012 – 254,002 (3,791 avg.); 4,273 on August 30
2011 – 265,465 (3,962 avg.); 4,018 on September 5
2010 – 269,023 (3,899 avg.); 4,618 on September 6
2009 – 268,985 (4,015 avg.); 4,379 on September 7
2008 – 279,606 (4,173 avg.); 4,494 on August 27
2007 – 284,718 (4,126 avg.); 4,182 on September 3
2006 – 267,908 (3,999 avg.); 4,142 on September 4
2005 – 249,374 (3,778 avg.); 5,023 on September 1