GREENVILLE, SC - RiverDogs starter Rafael De Paula continued his dominance of the South Atlantic League with 11 strikeouts over six solid innings en route to a 6-3 victory over the Greenville Drive on Thursday night at Fluor Field in The West End in Greenville, SC. The win was Charleston's seventh consecutive victory, and De Paula's fourth in a row as well.
The RiverDogs improve to 22-15 overall and remain in second place in the Southern Division. The Drive fall to 12-28 and remain in last place in the Southern Division standings.
De Paula (4-2) had some shaky points throughout Thursday's start, but for the most part dominated the Drive. De Paula threw six innings, allowed two runs on three hits and a homer on 89 pitches. He struck out 11 Drive batters and walked just one. With his 11 strikeouts, De Paula leads all of Minor League Baseball with 69 strikeouts.
Dante Bichette Jr. finished his night 2-for-4 at the plate with a two-run homer and a single. His blast in the top of the first put Charleston on top 2-0. Greg Bird registered a hit for the fifth time in the last six games and finished 2-for-3 at the plate with a triple, a two-run homer in the sixth, and two runs scored. Bird also walked once, upping his team lead to 31 on the year.
Charleston's other two runs came in the seventh inning. Taylor Dugas led the inning off with a single and advanced to second on a single by catcher Wes Wilson. Dugas took third on a passed ball and scored on a wild pitch. Wilson came around to score later in the seventh inning on a RBI single by Cito Culver, who finished with three base hits.
Greenville starter Frank Montas did not factor in the decision. He lasted five innings and gave up two runs on four hits. Montas was relieved by Francisco Taveras (0-1) who was tagged with the loss. Taveras' final line was four innings of relief that saw him allow four runs on six hits. Offensively for the Drive, they have struggled mightily this season and only their DH Tim Roberson had a batting average over .300 entering the game. Roberson and Aneury Tavarez both finished 2-for-4 at the plate with Tavarez homering off of De Paula in the fourth inning.