GREENVILLE - Abiatal Avelino's first-pitch, leadoff home run helped the Charleston RiverDogs to the truest of wire-to-wire wins, a 12-0 shutout victory over the Greenville Drive on Thursday night at Fluor Field in South Atlantic League action.
Avelino opened a six-run rally in the first inning that put Charleston ahead for good.
The RiverDogs earned a 2-1 series win over the Drive. Charleston moved up to 32-28 in the second half and 65-65 overall. Greenville slid to 19-41 and 53-76, respectively.
The RiverDogs, though, were eliminated from postseason contention due to a 7-1 win by Asheville over Kannapolis. While it is possible that Charleston could tie Asheville for first place in the Southern Division, the Tourists appear to be guaranteed a postseason berth because of their advantage in any potential tiebreakers.
In the first inning, Avelino homered to kick off a six-run rally. Avelino tagged Ty Buttrey with a solo shot over Greenville's version of the Green Monster. It was Avelino's second home run of the season. After an error and a walk, Miguel Andujar singled to drive in Tyler Wade. Yeicok Calderon then hit a sacrifice fly that drove in Michael O'Neill. Later in the frame, a bases-loaded walk for Kale Sumner and a two-run double by Bubba Jones pushed Charleston to a 6-0 lead.
The RiverDogs increased their advantage to 7-0 on some nifty baserunning in the fourth inning. O'Neill drew a one-out walk. With Calderon at the plate and two outs in the frame, O'Neill stole second base for his second steal of the game. Calderon reached on an error that moved O'Neill to third base. While Brandon Thomas was batting, Calderon got into a rundown that allowed O'Neill to touch home plate before Calderon was put out.
More baserunning keyed a RiverDogs run in the fifth for an 8-0 lead. During a double steal for Thomas and Gosuke Katoh, a wild throw to second base gave Thomas a chance to score.
Wade opened a three-run sixth inning with a leadoff home run. Facing a 1-1 count to start the inning, Wade connected on his first professional homer. Back-to-back walks set up Calderon, who came through with a single coupled with an error that brought in O'Neill. Thomas followed with a sacrifice fly to plate Andujar and boost the RiverDogs lead to 11-0.
Charleston scored another run in the top of the seventh, cushioning the advantage at 12-0. Wade doubled and reached third base on an error before scoring during a groundout by O'Neill.
Justin Kamplain, Angel Rincon and Stefan Lopez combined to keep Greenville scoreless on Thursday. The 12-run shutout was Charleston's largest margin of victory in a shutout since defeating the West Virginia Power, 14-0, on July 24, 2011, at Joe Riley Park.
Rincon picked up his third consecutive winning decision and pushed his record to 6-3. Buttrey remained winless this season and dropped to 0-4.
Charleston will start a three-game series at Rome at 7 p.m. Friday. RiverDogs RHP Gabe Encinas (0-2, 6.00 ERA) is scheduled to start for Charleston. The Braves have not announced their starting pitcher.