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Feature Sized – Charleston RiverDogs starting pitcher Freicer Perez works against the Lakewood BlueClaws at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park in Charleston, SC on Tuesday, May 2, 2017. (Martin Griff)

Greenville Stifles Charleston 4-1 To Take 1-0 Series Lead

Greenville Drive pitching stifled the Charleston RiverDogs offense in a 4-1 victory in game one of the South Atlantic League Southern Division Series at Joe Riley Park Wednesday night.

Carlos Vidal opened up the scoring in the bottom of the sixth hitting a line drive solo home run to right off of Drive starter Darwinzon Hernandez. That would be the extent of the offense all night as the RiverDogs couldn’t get any offense generated all night, collecting just two hits off of Drive pitching.

The Drive struggled against RiverDogs starter Freicer Perez for six innings, but struck right back for two runs in the top of the seventh off the RiverDogs bullpen. Garrett Mundell came into relieve Perez, but plunked Bobby Dalbec with a pitch to start the inning. Mundell would strike out Ryan Scott, but then surrendered a single to right field off the bat of Pedro Castellanos. A passed ball would advance the runners to second and third with Tucker Tubbs at the plate. Tubbs would plate Dalbec with a single to right field to tie the game at one. RiverDogs manager Patrick Osborn summoned Chase Hodson out of the bullpen and Greenville responded by pinch hitting with Jagger Rusconi. Rusconi would bounce a ball over first baseman Brandon Wagner‘s head that was fielded by Oswaldo Cabrera. Cabrera would field and fire to the covering Hodson, but not in time for an infield single that scored Castellanos for a 2-1 Drive lead.

Roldani Baldwin hit a long home run down the left field line off Hodson in the eighth to make it 3-1 Drive. Tucker Tubbs drilled a home run to left-center field off of Dogs reliever Braden Bristo in the ninth to extend the Drive lead to 4-1.

The RiverDogs would fail to mount a threat the rest of the game against the Hernandez and the Drive bullpen. Hernandez would pitch seven innings allowing just two hits striking out six and giving up just one run. Joan Martinez would earn the save pitching the final two innings allowing no hits and striking out three.

Perez would pitch six innings allowing just four hits, no runs and struck out a career high nine batters. Mundell picked up the loss pitching just a third of an inning, allowing two runs, one earned.

“I knew it was going to be a tough task against Hernandez. He’s really good, he’s pitched well against us all year. He was just a little better than we were tonight. I thought Frecier threw the ball really, really well. Unfortunately we had to take him out after six innings because of his innings. He’s accumulated innings so far this year that we couldn’t send him back out. Then we kind of lost it there in the seventh. Garrett both hit a guy and walked a guy. Both those guys score. Then they hit two solo home runs, so they were better than us tonight and we get another crack at them Friday,” RiverDogs manager Patrick Osborn said.

“We had two power pitchers going for our team and the other. He had good stuff today, had command of all of his pitches, had us chasing outside of the zone. He just had a good outing, he got the best of us. We just gotta continue to play our game and hopefully we’ll bounce back,” RiverDogs right fielder Isiah Gilliam said.

After the game, the two teams came together and held a prayer circle at home plate for the relatives of the players and the people in the track of Hurricane Irma.

The Drive take a 1-0 series lead back to Greenville for game two Friday night at 7:05 in the best-of-three divisional series. If the Drive win, they’d close out the series and move onto the finals. If the Dogs win, they would force a game three in Greenville on Saturday night.

“I like our chances. We got Rony Garcia going so it’ll be a tough task. These guys can pitch and they play good defense and they swung the bats well tonight, so we’ll see what we can do,” Osborn said.

“We’re just going to keep on playing the game we have the whole season. We have some pretty talented guys on our team. I don’t think it’s necessary to change anything. We’ve all had a pretty successful year, so we just got to keep on continue to play the game,” Gilliam said.

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