SAVANNAH - In the first of back-to-back doubleheaders scheduled at Grayson Stadium this week, the Charleston RiverDogs won the opener by a score of 6-2 while the Savannah Sand Gnats won the second contest in a 1-0 three-hit shutout by Miller Diaz on Tuesday night in South Atlantic League action.
The RiverDogs are now 23-21 in the second half and 56-58 overall. The Sand Gnats have records of 27-17 and 71-39 overall. Charleston and Savannah also will play each other twice on Wednesday in another doubleheader to close a condensed four-game set.
In the opener, Charleston scored in the second and fourth innings for a 2-0 lead. Miguel Andujar doubled and Mike Ford to set up runners on the corners early in the second inning. Michael O'Neill drove in Andujar with a sacrifice fly. During the fourth, O'Neill led off with a single, stole second base later in the frame, and scored after a wild pitch and a throwing error.
RiverDogs starting pitcher Andy Beresford tossed three no-hit innings while holding Savannah scoreless in the early innings. He retired the first eight batters he faced until a two-out walk in the third inning. With an inning-ending groundout, he wrapped up a short but successful start.
The Sand Gnats forced a 2-2 tie by scoring in the fourth and sixth innings. Champ Stuart opened the fourth with a single and advanced during a groundout and a single. Another groundout scored Stuart. Matt Oberste crushed his eighth home run of the year in the sixth, a game-tying solo shot.
Charleston rattled off a four-run rally in the seventh and final inning to take a 6-2 lead. Abiatal Avelino walked and scored on a Tyler Wade double. Two batters later, Andujar doubled to bring in Wade. Mike Ford followed with his first professional triple to drive in Andujar before scoring on O'Neill's second sacrifice fly. Savannah was unable to score in its half of the final frame.
RiverDogs reliever Chad Taylor picked up the win in the opener to move to 3-2 this season. Sand Gnats reliever Hunter Carnevale allowed four runs and took the loss, sliding to 3-1.
The nightcap opened with several innings of scoreless pitching. Diaz only gave up a hit and two walks over his first six shutout frames. Charleston's Justin Kamplain, who was making his RiverDogs debut, allowed just two singles in four scoreless innings. He was relieved by Angel Rincon, who escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fifth with three straight outs.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Sand Gnats broke up the scoreless deadlock by taking a 1-0 lead. Oberste and Nelfi Zapata opened with singles before a strikeout and a forceout of Oberste at third base. Colton Plaia came through with a two-out single that plated Zapata from second base. During the seventh, Diaz delivered one more scoreless inning to cap the shutout.
Diaz improved to 6-1 with the victory. The only hits that he allowed were a first-inning leadoff single by O'Neill and two-out singles in the seventh inning by Ford and Jackson Valera. Rincon suffered the loss to even his record at 3-3.
Another doubleheader between the RiverDogs and the Sand Gnats is scheduled to start at 5:05 p.m. Wednesday. Charleston LHP Chaz Hebert (1-3, 2.58 ERA) and RHP Gabe Encinas (0-1, 7.62 ERA) are expected to start against Savannah RHP Robert Whalen (6-0, 1.65 ERA) and RHP Octavio Acosta (0-0, 0.00 ERA), respectively.