Opening Day at Fluor Field was a smashing success on Thursday, as 6,198 fans were on hand to witness the Greenville Drive offense explode for seven runs in the first inning en route to a 14-4 win over the Rome Braves.
The Drive (3-5) have now logged 10 straight wins in home openers dating back to 2009, and the attendance was the third highest for a home opener in Drive history.
The Drive offense struck early and often, touching up Braves (4-4) starter Bruce Zimmermann (1-1) for seven hits and seven runs in the first. Five consecutive hits with one out, including RBI singles from Pedro Castellanos and Everlouis Lozada, and a two-run double by Michael Osinski, made the score 4-0.
Following a mound visit, Marino Campana blasted a Zimmermann offering 436 feet over the wall in center field for a two-run homer. Two batters later, Isaias Lucena got in on the action by smacking an opposite-field solo shot to right-center to cap the big inning.
Greenville struck for single runs in the second and third as well thanks to a pair of Rome errors.
The big lead was plenty for Denyi Reyes (2-0), who was making his first start of the season. The right-hander held the Braves to two earned runs over five and two-third innings while striking out four.
Rome got on the board in the second on a Drive error, and again in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Isranel Wilson. After a pitching change in the sixth, Kurt Hoekstra’s two-run double brought the Braves to within 9-4.
The Drive answered back in the bottom half with a run on a fielder’s choice by Lozada, and four more runs in the eighth tacked on insurance, with the highlights being Lozada’s RBI single and Osinski’s two-run double.
Seven Greenville hitters posted multi-hit nights in the 17-hit outburst. Castellanos and Lozada picked up three apiece, while Campana, Chatham, Lucena, Osinski and Kervin Suarez all collected two.
Lukas Young threw two scoreless innings of relief for the Drive to finish the game.
Friday’s first pitch at Fluor Field is set for 7:05 PM. The pitching matchup will feature Drive right-hander Hunter Haworth (0-0, 9.00) against Braves right-hander Huascar Ynoa (0-1, 33.75).
(Written by Cameron White of the Greenville Drive.)