Drive Fall to Braves on Saturday
GREENVILLE, S.C. - The Greenville Drive dropped its third-straight one-run game to the Rome Braves, 7-6, on Saturday night in game three of the four-game series.
With Greenville holding a 4-2 lead after three innings, Rome pushed across a total of five runs in the fourth and fifth inning to grab the lead. The Drive scored two unanswered runs, but couldn't overcome the deficit, falling 7-6.
Justin Dean gave the Braves an early lead, jumping on the first pitch of the game and sending it off the screen over the centerfield fence. Drive starter Brayan Bello then worked around a single and a two-out hit-by-pitch to end the Rome threat. The Braves added another run in the top of the third, capitalizing on a walk, double, and sacrifice fly to push the lead to 2-0.
The Drive used a two-out rally in the bottom of the third to take a 4-2 lead. After Devlin Granberg singled with one-out, Kole Cottam reached on a Rome error and Tyler Dearden singled to load the bases for Dylan Hardy. On a 3-2 pitch, Hardy launched his second homer of the year onto the Green Monster for the Drive's second grand slam of the season.
Rome responded with three unearned runs in the top of the fourth. After Ricardo Rodriguez reached on an error to lead off the inning, Jose Bermudez singled to cut the lead to 4-3, before Bermudez and Dean scored on another Greenville error to give the Braves the 5-4 advantage. The Braves continued to add to the lead in the top of the fifth, plating two runs on three hits to take a 7-4 lead.
The Drive cut into the lead in the bottom of the fifth. Dearden drew a leadoff walk, moved to third on back-to-back singles by Hardy and Jonathan Ortega, then scored on a bases-loaded double play to cut the lead to 7-5. Cottam led off the bottom of the seventh with a double, moved to third on an error, then scored on a Dearden groundout to cut the lead to 7-6.
Despite Logan Browning throwing 2.0 innings of one-hit ball to keep the Drive within striking distance, Greenville could not capitalize, as Rome held on for the 7-6 victory.
Jake Higginbotham (3-2) earned the win for the Braves, throwing 3.0 innings in relief, allowing one run on two hits with four strikeouts and two walks. Luis Mora picked up the save, going 2.0 innings and allowing just one hit with two strikeouts.
Bello (3-6) was tagged with the loss, throwing 4.1 innings and allowing seven runs (four earned) with three strikeouts.
Greenville's 6-7-8 hitters combined to go 5-for-12 with five RBIs and three runs scored, including Hardy's 2-for-4 night with a grand slam. Granberg finished the night going 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored, while Cottam also scored twice.
The Drive close out the series against the Braves on Sunday afternoon at 3:05 p.m.
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