GREENVILLE — The RiverDogs’ offense erupted for six runs in a decisive fifth inning as Charleston surged past the Greenville Drive 7-4 to salvage the series finale on Sunday afternoon at Fluor Field.
Third baseman Oswaldo Cabrera connected on 1-0 pitch to right field to drive in a pair of runs that put Charleston (30-31) ahead for good, 3-1, in the fifth and scored a key insurance run in the seventh as part of a three-hit night. Catcher Jason Lopez doubled home Cabrera in the seventh to stretch the RiverDogs’ advantage back to three while going 3 for 3 and reaching in all five trips to the plate.
Right-hander Kyle Zurak notched his fifth save in his last six appearances, fanning a pair of Drive hitters while touching 98 mph to close out the victory in the ninth. The Radford University product has not allowed a run over his last seven appearances spanning nine innings.
Charleston finished the road trip going 4-2. After picking up its first series sweep of the season in Columbia, the Yankees affiliate avoided the second time falling on the wrong end of one this year.
Greenville ace and All-Star righty Kutter Crawford (0-3) yielded all six runs in his second start facing the Dogs lineup. The Floridian right-hander saw his ERA balloon from 1.99 to 2.71. He had not allowed more than four runs in a single start before yielding six in the big fifth frame.
Second baseman Welfrin Mateo clobbered a double off Crawford to open the inning before Eduardo Navas and Carlos Vidal reached on the next two at-bats to load the sacks with nobody out. After Matt McPhearson struck out, Wilkerman Garcia, Cabrera, and Dermis Garcia all clobbered consecutive run-scoring knocks. Dermis scored on a sacrifice fly by Leonardo Molina.
Charleston starter Dalton Lehnen (5-3) was sharp through the first five before walking the bases full and yielding three of his four runs in the sixth. The Drive (21-40) had cut the deficit to 6-4 before Cabrera and Lopez’s doubles the following inning.
The RiverDogs open a seven-day homestand to close out the first-half, starting with a four-game series with the Asheville Tourists, the Class A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, on Monday at 7:05 p.m.
Charleston’s starter is TBA, while the Tourists will send righty Garrett Schilling (2-3, 2.54 ERA) to the mound.
Fans can bring their four-legged friends on a Monday Dog Day at The Joe featuring dollar beers and hot dogs courtesy of Busch Light. For those who can’t make it out to the park, Monday night’s opener will be broadcast on 1250-AM WTMA in the tri-county area, with audio available at riverdogs.com and the RiverDogs TuneIn radio station.