Sand Gnats sweep RiverDogs

Playing in their second doubleheader in as many days, the Charleston RiverDogs were swept by the Savannah Sand Gnats with a 2-0 shutout and a 5-3 walk-off win in a Wednesday night twin bill at Grayson Stadium in South Atlantic League action.

Charleston dropped to 23-23 in the second half and 56-60 overall. Savannah is now 29-17 and 73-39, respectively. The Sand Gnats won this 26-game season series by a 16-10 margin.

In the opener, Charleston suffered a loss despite collecting twice as many hits as Savannah. The RiverDogs recorded four hits to the Sand Gnats' two, but Charleston left seven runners on base. Robert Whalen and Akeel Morris combined for Savannah's clean sheet.

Yeixon Ruiz and Dominic Smith were responsible for the only hits and the only runs for the Sand Gnats in game one. In the first inning, Ruiz recorded a leadoff double and scored after two straight groundouts. Smith doubled to open the sixth and later scored on a wild pitch.

Whalen earned his seventh win in as many appearances with Savannah, going to 7-0. Gabe Encinas took the loss for Charleston and fell to 0-2. Morris converted his 13th save of the season.

The RiverDogs scored in the first inning of the nightcap for a 1-0 advantage. Abiatal Avelino reached on an error and was moved to second base by Tyler Wade's one-out walk. Two batters later, Michael O'Neill hit a two-out single to score Avelino and put Charleston ahead.

Chaz Hebert took a no-hitter into the fourth inning before Savannah broke through to tie the game. Hebert only yielded two walks in three scoreless innings, but a Matt Oberste single in the fourth broke up the no-hit bid. Oberste scored on a double by Nelfi Zapata to tie the game at 1-1.

Mike Ford's second professional triple boosted Charleston to a 2-1 lead in the fifth. Avelino led off with a walk and remained at first base through back-to-back strikeouts. Ford was able to drive in Avelino with a triple, marking the second straight day that Ford earned a three-base hit.

Savannah homered in its half of the fifth inning to take a 3-2 advantage. Patrick Biondi's bunt single opened the frame. After a lineout, Stefan Sabol blasted a two-run, go-ahead home run.

Charleston evened the score at 3-3 in the sixth on back-to-back doubles. A two-out double from Brandon Thomas extended the frame. Yeicok Calderon hit his own double to score Thomas.

Sabol delivered the game-winning homer to secure a 5-3 win during the seventh and final inning. Jeff Glenn began with a single and was replaced by pinch-runner Victor Cruzado. Sabol followed with the walk-off blast, his eighth home run of the year and his second in the game.

Sand Gnats reliever Dawrin Frias received credit for the victory, improving his record to 5-1. Eric Ruth dropped to 1-2 after being tagged with the loss.

Charleston starts a four-game road series at the Rome Braves on Thursday at 7 p.m. RiverDogs RHP Luis Niebla (1-0, 5.00 ERA) will face Braves LHP Matt Marksberry (4-7, 3.40 ERA).