CHARLESTON, SC – Alex Palma went 4-for-5, roping a single to each field in an impressive hitting display as the RiverDogs fell short of their second straight comeback effort to Greenville, falling 5-4 in front of a crowd of 4,125 at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park on Friday night.
Palma’s four hits led the offensive attack for Charleston (62-47, 20-20) who outhit Greenville (55-54, 18-22), 13-6, while stranding 12 base runners in the loss. It was Palma’s third four-hit game this season as the Venezuelan outfielder raised his average to .273. Charleston remains tied for third place in the Southern Division second half standings after the defeat with the series against the Drive now even.
Making his first start in the Yankees organization, RiverDogs righty Erik Swanson (6-5, 3.59) wasn’t helped by his defense in the first inning. With one out, a routine ground ball to short rolled right under the glove of Hoy Jun Park that allowed Tate Matheny to reach. After a strikeout of Michael Chavis, Kyri Washington smacked a double to drive in Matheny. Swanson, one of the pieces in the trade that sent Carlos Beltran to the Texas Rangers, was tagged for an unearned run that gave Greenville a 1-0 advantage after one.
In the third inning, Charleston got their bats going as Vince Conde came up with a leadoff single to left. Gosuke Katoh swapped places with his fellow infielder after grounding into a fielder’s choice. After Cesar Diaz grounded out, Park drew a two out walk to put runners at first and second before Chris Gittens smoked a single to right field to tie the ballgame at 1-1.
Charleston took a brief lead in the fourth inning when first baseman Audie Afenir singled home Palma who reached on a leadoff base hit, his second of the night, to make it 2-1 RiverDogs.
In the fifth, the Drive got to Swanson once more, piling on three runs on three hits. Swanson exited the inning without recording an out and after giving up the tying run on a RBI knock by Luis Alexander Basabe. Former Texas farmhand Dillon Tate, also acquired by the Yankees in the Beltran deal, entered in to punch out a pair before giving up the go-ahead two RBI single to Mitchell Gunsolus that put the Drive up for good, 4-2.
The RiverDogs made it a one run ball game in the sixth, scoring Afenir on a bases loaded wild pitch by reliever Gerson Bautista, but left runners on second and third in a 4-3 game.
In the bottom half, Park took a first pitch fastball from Bautista into right field to make it a 5-4 game.
The RiverDogs celebrated the start of the games in Rio with the Intern Olympics, with three finalists battling it out until the final two faced off in a ribbon twirling competition for the ages. Some promotions intern we already forgot the name of took home the Intern Olympic gold. The postgame ceremonies concluded with a Home Telecom Postgame Fireworks show.
The RiverDogs continue the series with the Drive with a doubleheader tomorrow in a pair of scheduled 7-inning games starting at 4:05 pm. The RiverDogs will send their staff ace, RHP Christian Morris (7-2, 2.45), as the Drive roll out LHP Logan Boyd (11-6, 5.09) in game one. In game two, Charleston trots out former South Carolina Gamecock RHP Taylor Widener (0-0, 3.00) with Greenville’s starter to be determined in the second game of the twin bill. It’s a Caturday night at The Joe as the RiverDogs become the RiverCats for the second game of the doubleheader, donning cat-tastic uniforms and unveiling a postgame cat video showcasing following all 14 innings of feline fun.
Ticket information for the RiverDogs homestand and any of the remaining home games can be secured by contacting the box office at (843) 577-DOGS (3647) or online at www.riverdogs.com. Tickets for Game Two of the SAL Divisional Series on Friday, September, 9 at 7:05pm are now available. Those that can’t make it to the park can follow every pitch of the RiverDogs season on WTMA 1250 AM and streaming online at riverdogs.com. Listen on WTMA 1250 AM in the tri-county area.