RiverDogs fall into first place tie; return home on Thirsty Thursday

A two-run double by Aderlin Rodriguez in the first inning got the Savannah Sand Gnats started on their way to a 6-3 win over the Charleston RiverDogs in South Atlantic League action on Wednesday night at Historic Grayson Stadium in front of a crowd of 2,083.

With the loss and a win by the Asheville Tourists, the 30-15 RiverDogs dropped into a tie for first place atop the Southern Division. Savannah is now 28-17 on the season.

The scoring in this one started right away, as Charleston dented home plate twice in the top of the first. Mason Williams walked and Cito Culver singled to start the inning and, after Gary Sanchez was plunked to load the bases, Ben Gamel (1-4, 2 RBI) lined a 2-out single into right to score two runs. The lead was short-lived however, as Savannah did the RiverDogs one better in their half of the inning. They loaded the bases with nobody out and Rodriguez’s (2-4, 2 RBI) double tied the game off starter Scottie Allen (1-3). Dustin Lawley scored the go-ahead run one batter later on a groundout.

The Sand Gnats got an unearned run in the second when Luis Nieves reached on an error, stole second and scored on a Gilbert Gomez (3-4, 2 RBI) single. In the fourth, they added two more when three consecutive singles to start the inning loaded the bases again with nobody out. One run scored on a double play and Gomez then singled to pick up his second RBI of the game.

The RiverDogs got their final run in the fifth when a Tyler Austin single scored Francisco Arcia but Savannah starter Domingo Tapia (4-2) held them right there. Tapia threw six solid innings and struck out six on the way his fourth win of the year. He was also aided by some clutch defense, as his fielders turned three double plays behind him.

Savannah’s bullpen took over in the seventh and got the last nine outs. Carlos Vazquez pitched a scoreless seventh and Jared West got his first save of the year by pitching a perfect eighth and ninth.

The RiverDogs are back in action on a Budweiser Thirsty Thursday at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park with a game against the Greenville Drive. The first game of four against Greenville will feature RHP Will Oliver (1-2, 3.63 ERA) pitching for Charleston and RHP Madison Younginer (1-4, 5.06 ERA) pitching for Savannah. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.