Greenville, SC – Thursday night’s contest at Fluor Field saw 7,415 fans come through the gates to set a record for a Greenville Drive game, but the Columbia Fireflies played the role of spoiler in a 7-2 defeat of the Drive in the pivotal series finale.
In addition to being the record attendance for a Drive game, the crowd was also the second largest in Fluor Field history, behind only the Reedy River Rivalry on March 4th, which drew 7,460 fans through the gates.
Trailing 1-0 early, the Fireflies (39-26) used a four-run third inning to take the lead for good. Luis Carpio hit a sacrifice fly to center to tie the game, and Michael Paez delivered the big blow with a three-run homer over the Green Monster off Logan Boyd (7-4).
An RBI single in the fourth by Dan Rizzie tacked on another run to extend the lead to 5-1, which was enough for Columbia starter Harol Gonzalez (4-4). The right-hander scattered 11 hits over seven and two-third innings while striking out six to earn the win.
The Drive’s (39-27) only damage done in the runs column of the scoreboard came courtesy of Roldani Baldwin, who cranked a pair of solo homers, one in the second and one in the eighth. Baldwin, one of the Drive’s selections to Tuesday’s South Atlantic League All-Star Game, now leads the club with eight home runs.
Paez also belted a pair of homers in the game, as he added a solo shot in the top of the eighth, and a fielder’s choice RBI by Tim Tebow later in the inning plated the final run for the Fireflies.
Baldwin and Mitchell Gunsolus each collected three hits for the Drive, while Steven Reveles and Tucker Tubbs added two hits apiece.
With three games remaining in the first half, the Drive now trail the Fireflies by a half-game in the Southern Division standings.
The Drive will finish the first half of the season with a three-game road series against the Rome Braves, an affiliate of the Atlanta Braves. First pitch for the series opener is at 7:05 PM. Right-hander Daniel Gonzalez (5-0, 1.84) returns to the Greenville roster on Friday and will start on the mound, while the Braves counter with right-hander Bryse Wilson (4-2, 2.33).