The Charleston RiverDogs treated a sellout crowd of 5,579 fans at Riley Park to a 10-0 shutout victory over the Greenville Drive in Charleston's home finale Thursday night in South Atlantic League action.
Luis Niebla fired a personal-best seven scoreless innings while striking out seven to tie a career high.
The RiverDogs improved to 35-31 in the second half and 68-68 overall. The Drive slid to 23-43 this half and 57-78 this season.
Charleston's crowd of 5,579 fans was the largest attendance for a regular-season home finale in at least the past decade. The RiverDogs drew 280,075 fans this season and set a team record with an average of 4,309 fans per contest.
Niebla's longest career outing was perhaps his finest. He needed only 79 pitches to complete seven shutout innings and match a career high with seven strikeouts. Niebla also retired the first six batters that he faced as well as the last 10 batters in a row.
A five-run rally in the first inning put the RiverDogs ahead for good. Claudio Custodio and Tyler Wade reached on walks before both runners scored on a one-out double from Miguel Andujar. A single from Yeicok Calderon and a walk for Brandon Thomas loaded up the bases. After a fly out, Jackson Valera ripped a bases-clearing double that drove in three runs.
Another pair of runs carried the lead to 7-0 in the fourth. A one-out single for Custodio and a two-out single from Michael O'Neill set up Andujar, who hit a single that was coupled with an error to score Custodio. Calderon answered with a single to bring in O'Neill.
In the fifth inning, Charleston stretched its advantage to 8-0. Gosuke Katoh reached on a leadoff walk and later scored during Wade's two-out single.
The RiverDogs scored twice in the sixth inning to take a 10-0 lead. Singles from Andujar, Calderon and Thomas filled the bases. Katoh launched a sacrifice fly that plated Andujar. Valera followed with a single to score Calderon.
Conor Mullee secured the shutout with two shutout innings in relief. A double play from Wade and Bubba Jones closed the eighth inning before Mullee hurled a perfect frame in the ninth.
Niebla claimed the victory and pushed his RiverDogs record to 3-1. Callahan suffered the loss and plummeted to 3-13.
Fan Appreciation Night featured RiverDogs fan pack giveaways and special video board messages from RiverDogs players, thanking the fans for their support throughout the season. College of Charleston Night was celebrated, including appearances from the Cougarettes and Clyde the Cougar. CofC baseball coach Monte Lee threw out a ceremonial first pitch, and the baseball team was recognized on the field for its run to the 2014 NCAA Super Regionals.
Charleston closes the 2014 season with a four-game series at the Augusta GreenJackets, starting at 7 p.m. Friday. RiverDogs RHP Rookie Davis (6-8, 5.10 ERA) will pitch against GreenJackets RHP Robert Ramer (3-4, 5.31 ERA).
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