In front of a sell-out crowd for “Pink in the Park” at Historic Grayson Stadium, Giovanny Gallegos combined with Rookie Davis, Rony Bautista, and Cesar Vargas for a 3-1 Charleston RiverDogs win over the Savannah Sand Gnats on Saturday evening in South Atlantic League action.
Charleston improves to 22-19 as Savannah goes to 28-13. The RiverDogs lead this four-game series by a 1-0 margin and climb within six games of the first-place Sand Gnats. Although Savannah scored a run on a late groundout, the Sand Gnats went 0-for-15 with runners in scoring position.
Gallegos’ win ended a personal streak of ten consecutive losing decisions. His last victory came on July 2, 2013 when the Staten Island Yankees defeated the Brooklyn Cyclones in a match-up of New York affiliates. A different RiverDogs streak continued as Mike Ford’s eighth-inning single extended his on-base streak to a career-high and team-best 14 consecutive games.
Two runs in the first inning provided Charleston with an early 2-0 lead. A game-opening error allowed Tyler Wade to get on base to begin the frame. Wade scored from second base on a one-out single by Aaron Judge for a 1-0 advantage. With two outs and Judge at third, Miguel Andujar singled to score Judge and extend the lead for the RiverDogs.
In the top of the fifth, the RiverDogs added an important insurance run. Gosuke Katoh’s one-out bunt single set up Wade, whose groundout moved Katoh to second base. O’Neill singled and brought in Katoh to stretch Charleston’s lead to 3-0.
Davis tossed three shutout innings prior to Gallegos’ appearance from the bullpen. Savannah pressured Gallegos in the fifth and sixth innings by putting runners in scoring position before the RiverDogs reliever escaped those tight spots. Gallegos also stranded a Sand Gnat at third base in the seventh during his final inning of work.
Bautista induced a double play by Wade, Katoh, and Ford in the eighth inning but had trouble getting the final out. After a single and a walk for Savannah, Vargas relieved Bautista and got Colton Plaia to end the inning with a fly out. In the ninth, the Sand Gnats opened with back-to-back singles against Vargas and broke up the shutout with a groundout that scored Champ Stuart. Vargas answered with a game-ending strikeout to protect the RiverDogs victory.
Gallegos has a 1-3 record this season by picking up the win in relief. Savannah’s Robert Gsellman allowed two unearned runs but suffered the loss, sliding to 2-3. Vargas nailed down his second save of the season, both coming against the Sand Gnats.
COMING UP: Game two of this four-game series is scheduled for 2:05pm on Sunday afternoon with Charleston RHP Luis Severino (1-1, 1.95 ERA) pitching against Savannah RHP Chris Flexen (1-4, 6.98 ERA). The RiverDogs will follow this road stretch with an eight-game homestand at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park. “Re-Opening Night” is scheduled for a May 27 doubleheader with the Greenville Drive while “Bark for Your Brew” on June 1 precedes the homestand finale against the Asheville Tourists. 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.