SAVANNAH - Caleb Smith, Chad Taylor, Philip Walby, and Eric Ruth combined to pitch a four-hitter for the Charleston RiverDogs in a 5-0 victory against the Savannah Sand Gnats on Sunday afternoon at Historic Grayson Stadium in South Atlantic League baseball.
Smith went six innings, retiring the first eight batters he faced and holding Savannah (16-8 first half, 60-30 overall) hitless until the fifth inning. He finished with five strikeouts while allowing one hit and three walks as Charleston took two of three in the series.
The RiverDogs (10-14, 43-51) gave Smith all the help he needed in the second inning with four runs. Mike Ford delivered a leadoff solo home run, tying Eduardo de Oleo for the team lead with 10 this season. Three batters later, de Oleo lifted a sacrifice fly that scored Miguel Andujar for a two-run lead. Near the end of the frame, Brandon Thomas and Mark Payton each drove in a run with two-out singles that gave Charleston a 4-0 lead.
The RiverDogs extended the advantage to 5-0 in the top of the fourth. Gosuke Katoh produced a one-out single, stretching his career-high and team-best hit streak to 15 consecutive games. Katoh also stole second base and scored during a two-out double from Payton.
Follwing Smith (5-7), Taylor, Walby and Ruth each contributed a scoreless inning of relief. Taylor yielded a one-out single to Victor Cruzado in an otherwise perfect seventh inning. Walby gave up two walks in the eighth, but a double play and a flyout helped him through the inning. Eric Ruth allowed two singles before closing a scoreless ninth inning with a game-ending strikeout.
John Gant was handed the loss and dropped to 9-5 after allowing four runs in just two innings pitched.
The RiverDogs will be idle on Monday before hosting the Lexington Legends on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. Charleston LHP Omar Luis (2-3, 5.75 ERA) is scheduled to pitch, while Lexington has not announced its starting pitcher. Tuesday's contest, which kicks off a seven-game homestand, features 2-for-$20 Date Night, Choose Your Knight Night and the start of HOPE Week 2014.
Tickets may be purchased at the Riley Park Box Office, (843) 577-3647 or online at www.riverdogs.com. If fans cannot make it to the ballpark, they are encouraged to tune in to all the action this year both home and away worldwide on www.riverdogs.com and locally on WTMA 1250-AM.