Five-Run Second Propels Drive Past West Virginia, 8-4
GREENVILLE, S.C. - The Greenville Drive offense was clicking early on a hot day at Fluor Field, scoring eight runs in the first four innings to defeat the West Virginia Power, 8-4, on Sunday afternoon.
West Virginia broke open the contest with two runs in the second. Onil Pena led off the inning with a solo home run to left and Charlie McConnell later singled to center to score Jake Anchia to give the Power a 2-0 lead.
Greenville countered with a five-run bottom half of the second, sending all nine batters to the plate. The Drive opened the frame with five straight singles, the last two combining to score three runs. Cole Brannen followed with a sac fly to center and Devlin Granberg later punctuated the inning with an RBI single to left to give the Drive a 5-2 lead.
West Virginia pulled back within a run with two more in the third. With two on and one out, Anchia singled to left to bring in a run and Bobby Honeyman followed with an RBI fielder's choice to trim the lead to 5-4.
The Drive tacked on one in the bottom of the third and two more in the fourth. Kervin Suarez doubled to center to bring home Brandon Howlett in the third. Jordan Wren then hit his fourth home run of the season, this one of the two-run variety to left, to make it an 8-4 game after four.
Both bullpens held each other in the check across the final five innings. Logan Browning worked 4.0 scoreless innings in relief for the Drive, allowing just two hits while striking out two and walking one. Rio Gomez then closed it out with a 1-2-3 ninth inning, including a pair of strikeouts. On the other side, Devin Sweet and Bryan Pall combined to throw 4.1 scoreless innings out of the pen, allowing just one hit with five strikeouts.
Yoan Aybar (1-1) earned the win in relief, allowing just one hit with one strikeout in 1.0 inning of work. West Virginia starter Clay Chandler (4-2) suffered the loss, allowing eight runs on 11 hits in 3.2 innings pitched with two strikeouts.
Four different Drive hitters managed two hits on the day, as eight of the nine hitters in the order recorded a hit. Wren was 2-for-4 with the homer, a double, a run and two RBI, while Suarez went 2-for-4 with a double, a run and two RBI. Granberg added a 2-for-4 day with a double and an RBI and Howlett was 2-for-4 with two runs.
The series concludes on Monday with a 7:05 p.m. first pitch. Right-hander Thaddeus Ward takes the bump for the Drive, while right-hander Ryne Inman goes for the Power.
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