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Diaz Deals as Drive Take 2-0 Lead in SAL Championship

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Kannnapolis, NC – The Greenville Drive’s pitching has been outstanding all postseason, and Jhonathan Diaz continued that trend in a big way on Wednesday night as the Drive shut out the Kannapolis Intimidators 2-0 to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five South Atlantic League Championship Series.

In his first appearance in the playoffs, Diaz showed no signs of rust, as the southpaw carved up the Intimidators for six and one-third scoreless innings while striking out seven and allowing just two hits and one walk.

Offensively, the top four hitters in the Drive lineup notched all six hits on the night.  Fresh off a five-hit game on Tuesday, Santiago Espinal began Wednesday’s contest with a double to left field, and Brett Netzer followed with a single to bring home the first run of the night.

Roldani Baldwin tacked on the Drive’s second and final run by smacking a Luis Martinez offering over the wall in left for his second homer of the postseason.

Those runs were plenty of support for Diaz, who didn’t allow a hit until Casey Schroeder’s single in the bottom of the fifth.

Diaz was relieved with one out in the seventh after issuing a walk, but Hunter Smith came in and slammed the door over the final eight outs to record the save.

Netzer went 2-3 with an RBI for Greenville, and he has recorded four straight multi-hit games.  Jerry Downs added a pair of hits as well.

The Drive are now one victory away from their first South Atlantic League title, and the Championship Series shifts to Fluor Field on Thursday night at 7:05.  Right-hander Bryan Mata will take the mound for the Drive as they go for a sweep of the series, and the Intimidators will start right-hander Blake Hickman.



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