CHARLESTON, SC - Mike Ford, Brandon Thomas, and Michael O'Neill each hit home runs and Caleb Smith pitched five shutout innings as the Charleston RiverDogs defeated the Greenville Drive 10-1 on Tuesday night in front of 3,122 fans at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park in South Atlantic League action.
With the win, Charleston improves to 3-2 in Southern Division play while Greenville falls back to 2-3 this season. It was also the RiverDogs home opener after Monday's scheduled contest was postponed due to rain.
The first RiverDogs home run of the season was provided by Ford in the bottom of the first inning. With Tyler Wade on second base following a walk and a stolen base, Ford lifted a fly ball into the batter's eye off Greenville's Mario Alcantara that put the RiverDogs ahead 2-0.
That cushion was more than enough for Smith, who was very efficient in his Charleston debut. Smith allowed one hit and just three baserunners in five innings pitched. The southpaw also struck out five on his way to the win.
Charleston added two runs in the fourth inning before exploding for a big rally in the fifth. Tyler Wade led off the frame with a single while Aaron Judge and Ford followed with walks to load the bases. Myles Smith replaced Alcantara on the mound but uncorked a wild pitch that scored Wade. Miguel Andujar reloaded the bases with a walk before the RiverDogs went deep again.
On the first pitch from Smith, Thomas cleared the right field fence with a grand slam to give the RiverDogs a nine-run lead. O'Neill came up two batters later and hit a solo home run to left-center field, improving Charleston's lead to 10-0.
Greenville finally got on the scoreboard in the top of the sixth inning. Tim Roberson's sacrifice fly brought in Tzu-Wei Lin to cut the deficit to nine. It would be the only offense that the Drive picked up in the contest.
Smith's record is now 1-0 for the RiverDogs after taking the win. The loss is charged to Alcantara, whose record is 0-1 this season.
COMING UP: This now-abbreviated two-game series closes at 11:05am on Wednesday morning with the first of two Education Days at The Joe. Charleston RHP Rookie Davis (1-0, 0.00 ERA) is scheduled to start against Greenville LHP Cody Kukuk (1-0, 1.80 ERA). Children throughout the Lowcountry will pack The Joe with the College of Charleston School of Science and Math providing hands-on activities and demonstrations. Tickets may be purchased at the Riley Park Box Office, (843) 577-DOGS (3647) or on-line at www.riverdogs.com.
Box Score: http://atmilb.com/1lJenDa