In his only at bat on Tuesday night, Mark Payton lined a single to right field, and Gosuke Katoh made a brilliant slide around the catcher to secure a 4-3 Charleston RiverDogs walk-off victory over the Greenville Drive in front of 3,011 fans at Riley Park in South Atlantic League action.
This was Charleston's second straight 4-3 walk-off win. The RiverDogs are now 7-13 in the second half and 40-50 overall. The Drive dropped to 3-17 and 37-52, respectively, while suffering its 15th consecutive loss.
In the first inning, Charleston struck quickly for a 2-0 lead. Michael O'Neill led off the inning with a solo home run, his ninth of the season to tie Eduardo de Oleo and former RiverDog Aaron Judge for the team high. Tyler Wade singled after the long ball. Two batters later, Wade scored on a double by Miguel Andujar.
Greenville answered with a three-run rally in the top of the second to take a 3-2 advantage. The Drive loaded the bases following two singles and an error. After a strikeout, Kevin Mager drove in Carlos Asuaje while grounding out to shortstop. Jimmy Rider followed with a two-run single, plating Jake Romanski and Manuel Margot to put the Drive in front.
Kale Sumner single-handedly tied the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the second. Sumner opened the frame by lifting a solo home run, his third of the season, to even the score.
Over the next six and a half innings, neither team was able to break through for a go-ahead run. Charleston pitchers Caleb Smith, Jacob Lindgren and Angel Rincon did not allow any hits during the eight scoreless innings that were pitched by the RiverDogs.
In the bottom of the sixth, the RiverDogs loaded the bases for incoming reliever Jonathan Aro. However, the Drive kept the game tied, absconding from the inning with a strikeout and a double play.
Charleston successfully manufactured the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning. Katoh's leadoff single set up O'Neill, who moved Katoh into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt. Payton, who entered the game as an eighth-inning substitute, lined the first pitch he saw from Mike Adams into right field. Cole Sturgeon's throw was up the line but in time to Romanski. Katoh stretched around Romanski, avoiding the tag and touching home plate for the winning run.
Angel Rincon took the victory, improving to 2-2 on the strength of two scoreless innings of relief. Adams fell to 2-3 after being charged with the loss.
Tuesday was Go Green Night, presented by Charleston County Environmental Management. The first 500 fans through the gates received a free recycle bag, while in-game promotional contests featured an environmentally friendly twist. The RiverDogs also brought back Luis Suarez "Bite Cam," a reference to the 2014 World Cup which continued on Tuesday with Germany's 7-1 win over Brazil in the semifinals.
The finale of this three-game series is set for a special start time of 12:05 p.m. Wednesday. RiverDogs LHP Omar Luis (2-3, 5.67 ERA) will face Drive RHP Jamie Callahan (2-8, 6.93 ERA). Big Splash Day, featuring water balloons, a fire hose and lots of aquatic amusement, is on tap for Wednesday afternoon's game.