GREENVILLE -- Charleston scored three times in the eighth to cut a four-run margin to one, but left the tying and go-ahead runs on base in the ninth in a 6-5 loss at the hands of Greenville in South Atlantic League action on Monday night.
The Drive is 33-23, 69-57 overall. In 16 head-to-head matchups with the RiverDogs this season, nine of the games have been decided by one run.
Down 6-2 entering the eighth inning, Charleston (29-28, 60-66) rallied for three runs against SAL All-Star Dennis Neuman, as Francisco Santana walked, Slade Heathcott doubled and J.R. Murphy walked to load the bases with two outs. Rob Lyerly hit a two-RBI single, and Luke Murton followed with a RBI single, cutting the deficit to 6-5.
The three runs scored against Neuman were the most he allowed since May 14, and he had only permitted two earned runs over his last 18 combined appearances.
After a scoreless bottom half from Charleston’s Manny Barreda, Emerson Landoni singled with one out in the ninth against Armando Zerpa. A two-out walk to Heathcott pushed him to second, but Kelvin Castro was retired to end the threat and give Zerpa his second save.
Neil Medchill started the scoring for Charleston in the second with a solo homer off Greenville’s Pete Ruiz for a 1-0 cushion. Greenville tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom half off RiverDogs starterr Mike Gipson.
In the third, Heathcott reached on a two-out error, was balked to second by Ruiz, and then scored on Kelvin Castro’s RBI single, giving Charleston the lead back at 2-1.
Reynaldo Rodriguez hit a two run homer to left in the third to give the Drive a 3-2 advantage.
Ruiz (9-8) worked five solid innings, surrendering two runs on four hits with five strikeouts.
The Greenville lead grew to 4-2 in the sixth on an RBI single from Kenneth Roque.
Gipson (0-1), a 31st-round pick this year by the Yankees making his SAL debut, allowed three runs on three hits in three innings, while walking and fanning a pair.
Greenville got two RBI singles off Gabriel Tatis in the seventh for a 6-2 lead.
Heathcott had two hits and scored twice for Charleston.
The series finale is today at 7 p.m., with Charleston sending left-hahder Jose Quintana (0-1, 2.45 ERA) against Greenville right-hander Ryan Pressly (4-6, 3.67 ERA).
--RiverDogs right-hander Michael Solbach was named SAL pitcher of the week. He compiled a 2-0 record and 0.00 ERA, giving up five hits and no earned runs, with six strikeouts, in a total of 10 innings.