Smith and Mateo each collect multiple hits as Charleston falls in finale
By: Riverdogs Media
GREENVILLE, S.C. – Right-hander Luis Gil took a no-hit bid into the sixth inning before Greenville mounted a rally that would prevent Charleston from wrapping up the Palmetto State Rivalry Series with their foes from the Upstate. Gil issued three straight walks before allowing a bases-clearing double to right fielder Tyler Esplin, who led the Drive past the RiverDogs 5-2 and forced Charleston to settle for a series split on Sunday afternoon at Fluor Field.
Gil (4-4), who had entered play leading the league with a 1.90 ERA, didn’t have his strikeout stuff going to start the day but was effective early, pitching to contact to retire the first seven hitters he faced before issuing his first free pass. Starting with a strikeout to pitch around his first baserunner in the third, he fanned four of the next six batters, logging back-to-back 1-2-3 innings before his command slipped away in the sixth. The 21-year-old was pulled after failing to record an out in the frame and finished with four runs allowed, raising his ERA to 2.25. The outing marked just the second time in 15 starts this year that Gil allowed more than three runs.
Charleston’s (45-43, 8-10) lineup struggled to pick up knuckleballer Kevin Biondic (4-0) all day as the Chicagoland native matched his longest outing of the season with six innings of one-run baseball, tossing 101 pitches in the effort while fanning three. The right-hander lost the feel for the pitch in the fifth, hitting two RiverDogs hitters, including Max Burt to lead off the inning. The Charleston shortstop came around to score on third baseman Welfrin Mateo’s line drive double off the wall in left to give the RiverDogs a temporary 1-0 lead.
After Greenville (40-48, 8-10) roared back to push four across in the sixth, the RiverDogs got one back in the seventh, mustering up a rally when Kyle Gray, Mateo, and Matt Pita all singled consecutively to open the frame off reliever Logan Browning. The southpaw fanned Josh Stowers before walking Anthony Seigler to force in a run that made it 4-2, but a double play ball off the bat of Canaan Smith limited the damage. The Drive erased the marker on a walk and an RBI single from Devlin Granberg off the monster in the eighth. Browning tossed perfect eighth and ninth innings to pin down his seventh save.
With the defeat Sunday afternoon, the Dogs will have to wait until the final week of the season to wrap up the Palmetto State Rivalry Series trophy, awarded to the winner of the Yankees-Red Sox matchup in the South Atlantic League each year. The Drive would need to sweep the RiverDogs in the four-game series scheduled for August 30-September 2 at The Joe to secure the title for a second straight season.
Following an off-day Monday, the RiverDogs open up a brief, three-game stint at Riley Park on Tuesday night against the Rome Braves at 7:05 p.m. The RiverDogs will hand Harold Cortijo (3-1, 1.93) the ball in the opener. The Puerto Rican-born right-hander will face the Braves for the third time in the last five starts, having allowed just a run in two outings of at least 5.0 innings when he faced the Atlanta affiliate in Rome. The 20-year-old starter has allowed only one run in four straight starts of at least 5.0 innings. The Braves will throw righty Alan Rangel (7-4, 4.74) in the opener.
Catch the game on WTMA 1250 AM in the tri-county area and online streaming on the TuneIn Radio app. Fans can “Make Fun” with the RiverDogs all season long down at The Joe. Single-game tickets, including options to the Riley Park Club, are available at riverdogs.com/tickets or by contacting the RiverDogs front office at 843-577-3647 (DOGS). A full schedule and list of game times for the 2019 season is available at riverdogs.com.