Fowler, Valera lead resilient RiverDogs in tough loss

SAVANNAH, GA (DOGS)- Dustin Fowler's two-run home run and Jackson Valera's two-run double helped the Charleston RiverDogs come back from early deficits before the Savannah Sand Gnats claimed a 7-4 win on Wednesday evening at Historic Grayson Stadium in South Atlantic League action. Sand Gnats starter John Gant tied a career high with 10 strikeouts in the victory. Charleston is 3-11 in the second half and 36-48 for the season. Savannah is 10-4 and 54-26, respectively. The RiverDogs have lost six games in a row heading into Thursday's finale. The Sand Gnats grabbed a 2-0 advantage in the first inning via unearned runs. With one out and the bases loaded, Champ Stuart scored on a throwing error during a force attempt for Savannah's first run. Victor Cruzado followed with a groundout that scored Matt Oberste. Fowler drove the RiverDogs to a 2-2 tie during the top of the third. After Gant fanned the first two batters of the frame, Michael O'Neill doubled and Fowler evened the score with a home run to right field. The game-tying shot was Fowler's sixth home run this season. In the fifth inning, Savannah reclaimed the lead at 4-2. Colton Plaia registered a leadoff double and advanced to third base with a groundout. Stuart hit a two-run blast against Brady Lail that pushed the Sand Gnats back in front. {} Charleston quickly tied the game in the sixth inning with an extra-base hit by Valera. Miguel Andujar drew a walk and stayed at first base through two outs before John Murphy singled to extend the inning. Valera drove in both runners on a double, evening the score at 4-4. Jonathan Leroux had a quick answer of his own that brought Savannah ahead 5-4. Leroux tagged RiverDogs reliever Angel Rincon with a double to begin the bottom of the sixth. Back-to-back groundouts allowed Leroux to score the go-ahead run. The Sand Gnats increased their lead to with additional runs in the seventh and eighth innings. After a one-out triple by Patrick Biondi, a wild pitch helped Biondi score for a two-run edge in the seventh. Another wild pitch in the eighth brought in Leroux to give Savannah a 7-4 lead. RiverDogs left-handed reliever Jacob Lindgren made his team debut in the eighth inning with three strikeouts while allowing one run due to a wild pitch. Lindgren was the 55th overall pick in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft and was the first New York Yankees draft selection this year. Gant earned the victory and is 8-4. His game-high 10 strikeouts marked the third time in Gant's career that he reached double digits in the category. Rincon was dealt the loss to fall to 1-2. Bret Mitchell picked up his first save of the season.
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