Bird’s 3 homers lead way for RiverDogs

— Greg Bird led the offensive charge for the Charleston RiverDogs as he finished 4 for 5 with three home runs and a single, knocking in all seven runs for Charleston en route to a 7-5 South Atlantic League victory over Greensboro at NewBridge Bank Park on Friday night.

Bird began his onslaught early with a two-out solo blast to give Charleston (14-11, 53-40 overall) a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning.

In the top of the third, Bird sent a pitch over the left-field wall for his second homer of the night — a two-run shot that gave the RiverDogs a 3-1 advantage.

Bird struck again in the top of the fourth. Following a pair of singles by Jake Cave and Cito Culver, Bird smashed a monster home run to right-center to give Charleston a 6-1 cushion.

In his final at-bat, the designated hitter drove a single to left to score Cave for the seventh run of the game. Bird was then thrown out at second trying to stretch his single into a double.

Culver and Danny Oh also had big nights. Culver went 3 for 5 with two runs scored and a stolen base, while Oh finished 3 for 5 with two doubles, a single and a stolen base.

RiverDogs starter Evan Rutckyj (8-6) picked up his team-leading eighth victory of the season. He was relieved by John Brebbia to start the sixth, and Brebbia sat down the Grasshoppers in order in his three innings of relief with one strikeout. Derek Varnadore allowed two runs, only one earned, in the ninth inning but eventually closed the door to seal the win.

The RiverDogs will remain in North Carolina as they open up a four-game series in Hickory starting Saturday at 7 p.m. at L.P. Frans Stadium. Charleston will send RHP Vicente Campos (1-2, 3.66 ERA) to the mound as Hickory counters with LHP Frank Lopez (2-3, 5.58 ERA).

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