Drive Split Doubleheader, Series with Crawdads
Hickory, NC - In the continuation of Wednesday's suspended game, the Hickory Crawdads (58-63, 25-27) got the best of the Drive's bullpen. But in Thursday's regularly scheduled game at LP Frans Stadium, Greenville's (64-56, 25-27) Fabian Williamson tossed six of the game's seven innings, en route to becoming the team's first 10-game winner in 2009.
After heavy thundershowers forced the suspension of yesterday's matchup, the Drive and Crawdads continued in the bottom of the third with Greenville leading 1-0. As the first batter of the night, Cody Podraza belted a solo homer off reliever Jeremy Kehrt to tie the game.
But the Drive scored runs in the top of the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings to mount a six-run lead. Shannon Wilkerson and Oscar Tejeda paced a four-run sixth inning, as the duo each knocked in a pair of runs on a two-out double and single, respectively.
An inning later Ryan Lavarnway recorded an RBI-groundout and Ty Weeden knocked in another with a double. Casey Kelly added the Drive's final run with a sacrifice fly in the top of the eight.
The lead would not last, however. Hickory began their comeback by scoring five runs on in the bottom of the eighth. Podraza began the inning with a single and Eric Fry ended it with a three-run homer for the Crawdads only two hits of the frame. In between Kehrt and Jason Blackey issued two walks, one of which came with the bases loaded and a wild pitch allowed another run to score.
The woes continued in the bottom of the ninth as the Crawdads completed the comeback for a walk-off victory. The Drive's third reliever of the game, Will Latimer (1-1), surrendered a leadoff homer to Leury Garcia. After Podraza drew a walk, a throwing error by Latimer on Mike Hollander's sacrifice bunt allowed Podraza to score all the way from first for the game-winner.
However, in game two, the Crawdads' bats never got going as Williamson (10-4) tossed 6.0 strong innings. The southpaw allowed a one-out hit in the bottom of the first, then retired the next 10 batters he faced before giving up a homer to Cristian Santana.
It would be the only run Hickory would score, as the Drive pushed across five runs. Greenville posted a run in their first at bat as Zach Gentile singled with two outs and scored as Lavarnway followed with a double.
Two homers in the top of the fourth gave Greenville a 5-0 lead. Following a leadoff double by Ty Weeden, Ryan Dent belted a two-run shot. Shannon Wilkerson then added a two-run round-tripper of his own, coming with two outs.
The Drive now travel to Charleston, West Virginia four a four-game series with the Power. Right-hander Stolmy Pimentel (9-6, 3.25 ERA) will take the ball in game one at Appalachian Power Park against right-hander Aaron Pribanic (1-1, 3.21 ERA).
Greenville returns home to Fluor Field on Tuesday, August 25th for a four-game set against the Northern Division-leading Kannapolis Intimidators, affiliates of the Chicago White Sox. For more information regarding single-game tickets, group outings, and luxury accommodations, visit www.GreenvilleDrive.com or call (864) 240-4500.
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