Five-Run Seventh Propels Greenville to 9-4 Win over Columbia
GREENVILLE, S.C. - The Greenville Drive put together a five-run seventh inning, keyed by a grand slam from Tyler Dearden, en route to a 9-4 victory over the Columbia Fireflies on Friday night at Fluor Field.
The Drive scored first with two runs in the second. Devlin Granberg singled to lead off the inning, moved to second on a walk by Tyler Esplin and took third on a throwing error by the catcher. With runners on the corners, Alan Marrero followed with a double to left to score Granberg and put runners at second and third. Two batters later, Cole Brannen brought home Esplin with a groundout to second for a 2-0 lead.
Columbia cut the lead to one with a run in the sixth. Back-to-back singles to start the inning by Ronny Mauricio and Walter Rasquin put two on with no outs. A flyout to left allowed both runners to move up, before an RBI groundout by Mark Vientos drove in Mauricio to make it a 2-1 game.
Greenville broke the game wide open with two runs in the sixth and five more in the seventh. In the sixth, Granberg drew a lead-off walk and Esplin followed with a two-run home run to right, his third of the season, to give the Drive a 4-1 lead.
In the seventh, Brandon Howlett got things started with a one-out triple to right. An intentional walk to Triston Casas and a walk to Granberg then loaded the bases. Esplin drew bases-loaded walk that saw Howlett come across for the first run of the inning. Two batters later, Dearden unloaded his third home run of the season with a grand slam to right to push the advantage to 9-1.
Columbia would not go away quietly, scoring twice in the eighth. Guillermo Granadillo drew a lead-off walk and Mauricio followed with an RBI triple. Rasquin would bring across Mauricio with an RBI groundout to third to cut it to 9-3. The fireflies added a run in the ninth on Jose Medina's two-out solo homer, but Brendan Nail struck out the final batter of the game to secure the 9-4 victory.
Alex Scherff (4-8) earned the win, allowing just one run on five hits with one walk and four strikeouts in 6.0 innings pitched. Devon Fisher gave up two runs on a hit with two strikeouts in 2.0 innings of relief, while Nail struck out three of the four batters he faced in the ninth. Jose Butto (4-8) was tagged with the loss, giving up three runs on four hits in 5.0 innings.
Tyler Esplin and Tyler Dearden combined for seven RBI on two home runs for the Drive, while Devlin Granberg drew two walks and scored three runs.
The series continues on Saturday with a 7:05 PM first pitch. Drive right-hander Chase Shugart is set to go head-to-head with Fireflies right-hander Daison Acosta.
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