Manuel Margot crushed two homers and finished 3-4 at the plate to pace the Greenville Drive to a 6-3 comeback win over the Charleston RiverDogs on Tuesday at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park in front of 5,842 fans on Education Day in South Atlantic League action. The two teams split the rain shortened two game series.
With the loss, the RiverDogs fall to .500 and sit at 3-3 on the young season. Greenville gets back to .500 with an identical 3-3 record with the victory.
Charleston scored in each of the first three innings to take an early 3-0 advantage. Mike Ford’s first-inning groundout to second base scored Abiatal Avelino to put the RiverDogs on the scoreboard. A similar groundout from Eduardo De Oleo brought in Michael O’Neill in the second inning. In the third, Ford launched his second home run in as many days into the batter’s eye in center field to increase the lead to three.
Margot and the Drive answered in the fourth and fifth innings to tie the contest. Margot crushed a two-run home run in the fourth that put the Drive within a run. Greenville drew even in the fifth when Jake Romanski hit a game-tying single, scoring Carlos Asujae from second base.
Then, in the seventh inning, Tzu-Wei Lin’s second single of the day scored Wendell Rijo to give Greenville a 4-3 advantage, their first of the game.
A monster two-run home run to left field in the eighth, Margot’s second of the game, pushed the Drive lead to 6-3. They did not look back en route to the win.
Rookie Davis started for Charleston, his first home start of the year. He lasted five innings and gave up seven hits and three runs to go along with two strikeout and no walks. Righty Andrew Benak was the first guy out of the bullpen for the RiverDogs, and he got tagged with the loss. In three innings, the former Rice Owl surrendered three runs on six hits and fanned two. His record falls to 0-1. Philip Walby threw one perfect inning in the ninth.
Greenville’s starter Cody Kukuk labored through three frames. He gave up three runs, one in each inning he pitched, on four hits and two walks. Kukuk also struck out five.
The winning pitcher was the first reliever for the Drive, righty Jacob Dahlstrand. He did not allow a run, did not walk anybody, struck out three and allowed just four base hits. Lefty Mike Adams earned the save by tossing two innings and surrendering no runs, two hits, and collecting two strikeouts.
BALLPARK FUN: Thousands of youths from the area packed the stadium and made it a loud, friendly environment for the home team on the first of two Education Days this season at Riley Park. The College of Charleston School of Sciences and Mathematics teamed up with the RiverDogs to teach Lowcountry students about STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields while everyone enjoyed a beautiful, sunny day at the ballpark.
COMING UP: Charleston begins a four-game series at The Joe against the Augusta GreenJackets on Thursday night at 7:05pm. RiverDogs RHP Luis Severino (0-1, 13.50 ERA) is scheduled to start against Augusta LHP Luis Ysla (0-0, 6.00 ERA). Celebrate happy hour in the Ashley View Pub on the first Budweiser Thirsty Thursday, presented by 95SX, with DJ Natty Heavy and $1 drafts. Tickets may be purchased at the Riley Park Box Office, (843) 577-DOGS (3647) or on-line at www.riverdogs.com. If fans cannot make it to the ballpark, they are encouraged to tune in to all the action this year both home and away on www.riverdogs.com and 1250 WTMA, the new radio home for RiverDogs baseball.