The Greenville Drive needed just two hits to get the victory on Sunday against the Charleston RiverDogs, as a bases-clearing double by Tyler Esplin in the sixth inning keyed the home team to a 5-2 win at Fluor Field in the series finale of the Battle of Palmetto State Rivalry Series, presented by Spinx.
Both starting pitchers control the action through the first four innings. Drive starter Kevin Biondic faced just two above the minimum through four, while Charleston starter Luis Gil faced just one over the minimum during that span.
Charleston broke open the scoring with a run in the fifth. Max Burt was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and later stole second. Two batters later, Welfrin Mateo doubled to score him and put the RiverDogs in front 1-0.
The Drive answered in a big way in the sixth. Three straight walks to Jonathan Ortega, Grant Williams and Cole Brannen loaded the bases with no outs. With the home team still looking for its first hit, Tyler Esplin delivered with a bases-clearing double in to the left-center field gap to give the Drive a 3-1 lead. They would later add to it as Esplin scored on a wild pitch to extend the lead to 4-1.
Charleston answered in its next turn at the plate. Three straight singles to open the inning loaded the bases with no outs. After a strikeout, a walk to Anthony Seigler brought home a run to make it a 4-2 game. A 6-3 double play ended the frame with no further damage done.
Greenville tacked on an insurance run in the eighth. Esplin drew a one-out walk and two batters later Devlin Granberg singled off the Monster in left and was caught in a rundown between first and second. From the rundown, Esplin, who advanced to third on a single, was able to score ahead of a throw to make it a 5-2 game.
Drive reliever Logan Browning finished it off with a 1-2-3 ninth inning to earn the save, as he retired the final seven batters that he faced.
Biondic (4-0) earned the win, allowing one run on five hits in 6.0 innings pitched with three strikeouts against a lone walk. Gil (4-4) suffered the loss, allowing four runs on one hit with four strikeouts against four walks. Browning picked up his seventh save of the season, allowing one run on three hits in 3.0 innings pitched with four strikeouts against a lone walk.
Esplin led the Drive offense, going 1-for-3 with a double, a walk, two runs and three RBI. Granberg managed the only other Drive hit with the eighth inning single and Jonathan Ortega reached base in each of his three plate appearances with a walk in each.
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