Charleston breaks a three-game losing streak in improving to 31-32, 62-70 overall, while Greenville falls to 37-25, 73-59 overall in losing for the fifth straight time at Riley Park. Fourteen of the 18 games between the two teams this season have been decided by two runs or less.
Charleston trailed the majority of the game by a 1-0 score until the bottom of the ninth, when designated hitter Taylor Grote's big bat announced his return to Riley Park with a vengeance. The Woodlands, Tex. native blasted his second home run of the year, first since returning from a three-month stint on DL last week, deep over the wall in center field on a 1-2 pitch with two outs from All-Star reliever Dennis Neuman (0-2) to knot the game up at 1-1 and send the game into extra innings.
The 1-1 stalwart lasted until the bottom of the 12th, when Heathcott sent a 1-0 pitch from reliever Jordan Flasher over the wall in centerfield, his second home run of the year, to give Charleston the 3-1 victory. Heathcott's longball brought Kevin Mahoney home from first, who was hit by a pitch from Neuman before being lifted for Flasher.
Heathcott's shot gave the RiverDogs their second walkoff home run of the season and ninth walkoff victory of the campaign.
Greenville lit the scoreboard first when Kolbrin Vitek's RBI double to left-centerfield plated Michael Almanzar from third to give Greenville a 1-0 lead in the top of the second. Almanzar ripped off his 26th double of the year off Charleston's Brett Marshall to open the frame and moved to third on a fielding error.
Marshall settled down after that to toss 7.0 solid innings while permitting just five hits, with no walks and six strikeouts. The Texas native has allowed just two runs over his last 36 innings, and combined with the Charleston bullpen to hum shutout ball for 10 straight frames.
Ben Watkins worked an uneventful eighth, while Jairo Heredia fanned two in a scoreless ninth. All-Star Ryan Flannery (7-6) took over from there to pen 3.0 innings of one-hit ball with four strikeouts in the victory.
Game two of this four-game series is set for Tuesday at 7:05 p.m., with Charleston sending left-hander Jose Quintana (0-1, 2.08) to face off against Greenville right-hander Willie Kempf (1-2, 3.94).
BALLPARK FUN: It was another 98X Hair of the Dog Monday at Riley Park as fans enjoyed $1 beers in the Ashley View Pub all throughout the tough-fought game. It was also another Dogs with a Cause Night, as the RiverDogs took the field with The Birthday Presence Foundation.
UP NEXT: Fans can bring their Bi-Lo Bonus Cards to the RiverDogs Box Office and receive special two-for-one admission to the game with Bi-Lo's Two for Tuesday. Plus, fans of NASCAR should get their engines revving because Kyle Petty will and watch him drive around the field in his brother Adam Petty's stockcar! Get your pom poms ready for Cheerleading Night at The Joe too!