RiverDogs 10, Sand Gnats 6
Austin Jackson's bases-loaded triple turned into a T-ball style grand slam and the Charleston RiverDogs came back from a 5-0 deficit to beat the Savannah Sand Gnats, 10-6, on Thursday in front of a Riley Park crowd of 5,033.
With two outs in the bottom of the sixth and the score tied at 6, the RiverDogs (20-14) loaded the bases with three straight singles to bring up Jackson, who hit a low fly ball to right field. With the wind blowing that direction, Savannah's Joe Holden misjudged the flight of the ball and it sailed over his head to the wall. Three runs scored easily and Jackson was waved home as Holden's hasty throw to third drifted to left field. Jackson never slowed down and slid home without a play at the plate.
"When I saw (manager Torre Tyson) pumping his arms, I knew I had a good chance to make it," Jackson said. "I thought it would be closer to the plate than what it was."
For the second straight night, the RiverDogs scored 10 runs to beat the Sand Gnats (7-25). This time, they had to recover from Savannah's four-run rally in the third that gave the Gnats a 5-0 lead.
Charleston responded with three runs in the bottom of the third and three more runs in the fourth to pull ahead 6-5.
"We just kept fighting," Jackson said. "Coach Tyson said to keep fighting and good things will happen. Wins like this help to show us no matter what the score is, we still have a chance to win."
Kyle Anson was 2-for-3 with two RBIs, and Seth Fortenberry drove in two runs. Seven RiverDogs scored.
"The good thing about them jumping on us early is you don't have to panic," Tyson said. "There's still time."
Mike Dunn worked through his worst start of the season and was one out away from being eligible for the win when he was ejected by home plate umpire Matt Abbott for hitting Savannah's Josh Thole in the fifth inning. There had been no previous warning and the situation didn't have the markings of a retribution pitch, but there was word that the umpire might have been reacting to a contentious situation with Thole in Wednesday night's game.
Luke Trubee (2-0) came on in relief to earn the win.
"We wouldn't have had that chance to come back if Dunn doesn't come back and put a couple of zeroes on the board after those bad innings," Tyson said. "And Trubee pitched as well as I've seen this year."
Savannah catcher Sean McCraw hit a two-run homer in the third and was 2-for-3 with two runs.
Teacher Appreciation Night was well-timed to coincide with a week of PACT testing and Thirsty Thursday with dollar beer specials at The Joe. You do the math (but bring a No. 2 pencil).
The RiverDogs and Sand Gnats finish their four-game series today. The game will begin either at 7:05 p.m. or about 30 minutes after the Georgia Southern-The Citadel game which starts at 5 p.m. at Riley Park.
The scheduled starters are Charleston left-hander Garrett Patterson (1-1, 4.22 earned run average) and Savannah right-hander Tim Stronach (1-3, 7.88). A fireworks display will follow the game.
Reach Bill Henley at 937-5595 or by email at email@example.com.