Phillip Diehl Wins Seventh as RiverDogs Down Drive in 10, 2-1
The Charleston RiverDogs entered the South Atlantic League All-Star break two games under .500 and were looking to start the second half on a positive note. Freicer Perez would take to the hill in the team’s first start following the break and would toss seven outstanding innings in a great pitchers’ duel. Eventually, the game would head to extra innings where a fielder’s choice would plate the winning run in the top of the 10th, giving Phillip Diehl his seventh victory of the season in the 2-1 win over the Greenville Drive.
Perez had entered the contest with five quality outings in a row, looking for his sixth. He did not disappoint. The right-hander blanked the Drive through the first four innings of the contest allowing no hits during that span.
Greenville starter Daniel Gonzalez had pitched nearly as well, blanking Charleston through the first three innings of the game. However, the RiverDogs would finally break through in the top of the fourth inning. Blake Rutherford led off the top of the inning with his 15th double of the season. Estevan Florial followed by lining a triple down the right field line, scoring Rutherford and staking Charleston to the one-run lead. Despite giving up the run, Gonzalez pitch brilliantly, recording three consecutive outs to keep Florial from scoring so that his team only trailed by one.
In the bottom of the fifth, Greenville would tie the score. Ryan Scott let off the inning with a single into left field, and Isaias Lucena followed by grounding into a fielder’s choice that put him at first. A wild pitch would move him to second before Mitchell Gunsolus walked. A second wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position, and a Steven Reveles ground out brought Lucena home to tie the game.
From there, neither team was able to plate a run during regulation. Freicer Perez left after the seventh, allowing just 1-hit and 2-walks in his best outing of the season. He struck out 4. Daniel Gonzalez lasted 5.2-innings, allowing 5-hits, a walk, and a run, and he also struck out 4.
From there, this was a battle of bullpens. Pat Goetze took over in the sixth for Greenville, and tossed 2.1 scoreless innings. Phillip Diehl came on in the bottom of the eighth and gave the RiverDogs 2.1 outstanding innings of his own.
The game would head to extra innings tied it one, when Charleston would grab their second lead of the game. As he had earlier when the RiverDogs scored, Rutherford started the inning, this time singling into left field. Florial followed by grounding the ball to the shortstop, whose throw was wild, allowing Florial to reach safely. Donny Sands then laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt that moved both runners into scoring position, and Isiah Gilliam followed by grounding to the second baseman. He threw home attempting to get Rutherford, but the throw was late, allowing the runner to score and give Charleston the 2-1 lead.
Phillip Diehl (7-2) retired the first batter in the bottom of the 10th, but then hit Gunsolus. That brought a call to the Charleston bullpen, and Garrett Mundell came on looking to close it out. He would give up a two-out base hit, but retired the last batter on a comebacker, and Charleston was the one-run winner. That was Mundell’s seven save the season
Blake Rutherford finished the evening 2-5 with a double, and he scored both of the RiverDogs’ runs. Estevan Florial had 3-hits, a double, a triple, and an RBI. The Greenville Drive recorded just five hits on the evening and Ryan Scott had two of them.
These two teams will continue their four-game series tomorrow night. Charleston has not named their starter yet. The Drive will send Kyle Hart (2-1, 1.91) to the hill. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.
By Robert Pannier