The Greenville Drive and Lexington Legends locked horns in a back-and-forth slugfest on Monday night, and the Drive offense used a 19-hit attack to hold off the Legends 13-12 in game three of the four-game set.
The Drive (10-27) saw two players put together monster nights to power the offense. Catcher Charlie Madden finished the game a perfect 5-5 at the plate with four runs and four RBI, while first baseman Zach Sterry went 4-6, finishing a homer shy of the cycle, while driving home four runs of his own.
The game turned topsy-turvy in the top of the sixth, when the Drive scored five times to come back from a 3-2 deficit. Madden hit a two-run single as part of the frame, while a pair of Lexington (17-18) errors and a sacrifice fly from Lorenzo Cedrola finished the inning.
The Legends rebounded in the bottom half with four runs to tie the game at 7-7, thanks to a three-run double by Marten Gasparini and an RBI single by Jeison Guzman.
Not to be outdone, the Drive scored four more runs in the top of the seventh. With the bases loaded and nobody out, Kervin Suarez was hit by a pitch to put the Drive on top for good. Two batters later, Madden doubled to bring in two more runs, and Sterry added an infield single to make the score 11-7.
After Lexington plated a run on an error in the bottom of the eighth, the Drive scored a pair of insurance runs in the ninth courtesy of an RBI single by Cole Brannen and another RBI hit by Sterry, to make the score 13-8.
Those runs proved crucial when the Legends scored four times in the final half inning. A two-run homer by M.J. Melendez got the ball rolling, and after a wild pitch brought in a run, Travis Jones hit an RBI triple, which cut the Greenville lead to one and placed the tying run 90 feet away. Lukas Young bore down from there, getting a strikeout and a groundout to put an end to the Drive’s wildest contest of the young season.
Sterry drove home the Drive’s first two runs of the evening with a double in the third and a triple in the fifth. Seuly Matias put the Legends on the board with a two-run homer in the fourth, and Ricky Aracena added an RBI single in the fifth.
Durin O’Linger (1-0) got the win in his Drive debut by pitching two innings of relief and allowing just one unearned run. Robert Garcia (0-1) was tagged with the loss for Lexington, while Young recorded his third save.
Suarez joined in on the Drive offensive fun with three hits, while Everlouis Lozada and Jagger Rusconi chipped in with two hits apiece.
The series finale begins at 7:05 on Tuesday night in Lexington. Right-hander Kutter Crawford (0-2, 1.96) starts for the Drive as they look to split the series, and the Legends will give the ball to right-hander Andres Sotillet (1-2, 3.90).
(Written by Cameron White of the Greenville Drive.)