CHARLESTON, SC - On Saturday evening, the Charleston RiverDogs lost a 4-0 shutout to the Savannah Sand Gnats in front of 4,458 fans at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park in South Atlantic League action. Savannah, Ga. native John Gant pitched the first seven innings of the four-hit shutout.
The RiverDogs have a 28-34 record as the first-place Sand Gnats improve to 40-19. Heading into Sunday's series finale, Savannah leads this four-game set by a 2-1 margin.
For the third straight game of this series, the Sand Gnats scored in the first inning. Gavin Cecchini got into scoring position after a one-out double. L.J. Mazzilli drove in Cecchini on a two-out single to put Savannah in front 1-0.
Savannah added three more runs in the fifth inning, extending the lead to 4-0. The Sand Gnats opened the frame with three straight singles, driving in Stefan Sabol in the process. After a double play, Jeff McNeil doubled to score Colton Plaia. Mazzilli singled and allowed Patrick Biondi to come in for the final run of the rally.
Gant pitched with a lead throughout his seven scoreless innings. In the first inning, Aaron Judge was stranded at second base after his two-out double. Gant hit Brandon Thomas with a pitch in the third inning, but Thomas was caught stealing second, and Gant retired the next nine batters that he faced. Gosuke Katoh doubled in the sixth inning and Eduardo de Oleo singled in the seventh for the only other RiverDogs hits against Gant, who struck out five.
Tim Peterson and Robert Coles relieved Gant and finished the shutout with a scoreless inning apiece. In the eighth, Peterson allowed a single to Katoh before the inning came to a close with a double play. Coles pitched a perfect ninth inning in a non-save situation.
Gant improved to 6-2 with the victory. Brady Lail was charged the loss and drops to 7-3. He allowed four runs while striking out five in five innings pitched.
BALLPARK FUN: Edward Holton celebrated his 50th birthday at the game in a special seating section that was visited by South Carolina State University President Thomas J. Elzey. Elzey was in Holton's section to sing the Seventh-Inning Stretch while representing SCSU's sponsorship of Larry Doby Heritage Weekend. The weekend started with the Jackie Robinson Kansas City Monarchs Jersey Giveaway, courtesy of WCSC Channel 5, and pregame recognition of the 1955 Cannon Street All-Stars.
COMING UP: Charleston closes a four-game homestand against Savannah with the series finale on Sunday at 5:05pm. The scheduled pitchers are RiverDogs RHP Rookie Davis (2-5, 5.55 ERA) and Sand Gnats RHP Chris Flexen (2-5, 5.63 ERA). South Carolina State University continues to present Larry Doby Heritage Weekend, which wraps up on Sunday with both teams in Negro Leagues uniforms and appearances from former Negro Leagues players. It is also CCPRC and Crews Subaru Kids Club Sunday, presented by Y102.5, which includes Kids Eat Free from Pepsi, and parking is free for the game. Tickets may be purchased at the Riley Park Box Office, (843) 577-DOGS (3647) or on-line atwww.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.