SAVANNAH, GA - Caleb Smith, Chad Taylor, Philip Walby, and Eric Ruth combined to pitch a four-hitter for the Charleston RiverDogs in a 5-0 shutout victory against the Savannah Sand Gnats on Sunday afternoon at Historic Grayson Stadium in South Atlantic League action.
Charleston climbed to 10-14 in the second half and 43-51 overall. Savannah dropped to 16-8 and 60-30, respectively. The RiverDogs also won this three-game series by a 2-1 margin.
A four-run rally in the second inning guided the RiverDogs to a strong early lead. Mike Ford delivered a leadoff solo home run to open the rally. Ford tied Eduardo de Oleo with a team-high 10 homers this season. Three batters later, de Oleo lifted a sacrifice fly that scored Miguel Andujar for a two-run lead. Near the end of the frame, Brandon Thomas and Mark Payton each drove in a run with two-out singles that gave Charleston a 4-0 lead.
The RiverDogs extended the advantage to 5-0 in the top of the fourth. Gosuke Katoh produced a one-out single, stretching his career-high and team-best hit streak to 15 consecutive games. Katoh also stole second base and scored during a two-out double from Payton.
Smith delivered a quality start in six shutout innings for the RiverDogs. He retired the first eight batters that he faced and held the Sand Gnats hitless until late in the fifth inning. Smith's early bids for a perfect game and a no-hitter were each broken up by Jonathan Johnson. The southpaw finished six scoreless frames with five strikeouts, allowing just one hit and three walks.
Taylor, Walby, and Ruth contributed with scoreless relief in the four-hit shutout. Taylor yielded a one-out single to Victor Cruzado in an otherwise perfect seventh inning. Walby gave up two walks in the eighth, but a double play and a fly out helped him through the inning. Eric Ruth was tagged for two singles before closing a scoreless ninth inning with a game-ending strikeout.
Smith improved to 5-7 as the winning pitcher, collecting his first win since a RiverDogs doubleheader sweep against the Greenville Drive on May 27. John Gant was handed the loss and dropped to 9-5 after allowing four runs in just two innings pitched.
COMING UP: The RiverDogs will be idle on Monday before hosting the Lexington Legends on Tuesday at 7:05pm. Charleston LHP Omar Luis (2-3, 5.75 ERA) is scheduled to pitch while Lexington has not announced its starting pitcher. Tuesday's contest, which kicks off a seven-game homestand, features Harris Teeter 2-for-$20 Date Night from Nash FM, Choose Your Knight Night, and the start of HOPE Week 2014. 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 worldwide on www.riverdogs.com and locally on 1250 WTMA, the new radio home for RiverDogs baseball.
Box Score: http://atmilb.com/1nsHQDI