Lavarnway and Middlebrooks' Back-to-Back Jacks Give Greenville 3-2 Win
Asheville, NC - The Asheville Tourists thought they had the Drive right where they wanted them in the first game of the Southern Division Championship Series at McCormick Field.
Clinging to a one run lead as they began the final inning, Asheville turned the South Atlantic League's save leader Adam Jorgenson. Having allowed only three home runs all season, the Drive almost doubled the right-hander's total.
Ahead in the count 2-0, leadoff batter Ryan Lavarnway sat on a fastball and drove it the opposite way, barely clearing the right-centerfield wall to tie the game. The very next batter, Will Middlebrooks, also took advantage of a 2-0 count, blasting a homer to straight away centerfield. It was the first time all season that Greenville hit back-to-back roundtrippers.
However, the ninth inning did not come without any drama. Leandro Marin started the frame by striking out Beau Seabury and getting Ryan Peisel to flyout to center. But following back-to-back walks to Michael Zuanich and Scott Robinson, Greenville manager Kevin Boles turned to sidearm reliever Kyle Rutter.
Nailbiter situations were nothing new to Rutter, however, having earned two victories for NC State in the Regionals of the NCAA Tournament this past collegiate season. But it became even more interesting when Delta Cleary drew a walk to load the bases to bring up the league's MVP, Jordan Pacheco.
On the very first pitch, Pacheco sent a liner to second, that Zach Gentile climbed the later to make a leaping catch to give the Drive the win. Pacheco finished the game 0-for-5.
The game began with two of the league's most successful pitchers this season, Stolmy Pimentel of Greenville and Juan Nicasio of Asheville, tossing strong stints. Had it not been for the Drive's comeback, Pimentel would have taken a tough-luck loss.
With Greenville leading 1-0 through four and a half innings, the Tourists plated a pair of runs to take the lead.
The series now moves to Fluor Field on Friday with first pitch set for 7:05 PM. Another 10-game winner, southpaw Fabian Williamson (10-5), will toe the rubber for Greenville as Asheville counters with right-hander Dan Houston (8-9).
Tomorrow night's game will also feature a post-game fireworks display. For more information regarding single-game tickets, group outings, and luxury accommodations, visit www.GreenvilleDrive.com or call (864) 240-4500.
Ryan Lavarnway and Will Middlebrooks each had 2 hits...Mitch Herold earned the win, tossing 2.0 scoreless innings...Lavarnway's homer was his 22nd of the year, moving him into first all-time on the Drive (counting playoffs)...the Drive have defeated the Tourists in 4 straight games
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South Atlantic League Stories from September 10, 2009
- Tourists Toppled In Playoff Opener - Asheville Tourists
- Lavarnway and Middlebrooks' Back-to-Back Jacks Give Greenville 3-2 Win - Greenville Drive
- Suns Norris Snags Nationals Top Minor League Award - Hagerstown Suns
- Redneck Rummage Sale Coming September 26th - Rome Braves
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