Tourists rally past Drive
ASHEVILLE--The Asheville Tourists faced a three-run deficit early in Saturday night’s game against the Greenville Drive. Asheville managed to pull even and eventually vault ahead when Manny Melendez plated Joel Diaz in the bottom of the eighth inning. The Tourists hung on late to beat the Drive 5-4.
After Melendez scored on a Vince Fernandez sacrifice fly in the bottom of the first inning, Greenville took advantage of some Tourist defensive miscues. The Drive plated four unearned runs in the top of the third and Asheville had their work cut out for them.
In the bottom of the fourth, Taylor Snyder lined an RBI double into the left-centerfield gap to cut the Drive lead to 4-2. Fernandez came through again in the bottom of the fifth with a two-run single to tie the score. Both teams had chances to capture the lead late, but it was Asheville that capitalized on a two-out eighth inning rally.
With no one on base, Diaz singled to deep right field. The next batter, Max George, lined a base hit into left. Melendez then followed with the eventual game-winning, RBI single to put Asheville in front 5-4.
Greenville made it difficult in the ninth. The Drive loaded the bases with one out; however, Kenny Oakley recorded back-to-back strikeouts to end the game. The Tourists bullpen combination of Oakley, Matt Dennis, and JD Hammer recorded seven strikeouts over the game’s final four innings.
The two-out hitting was the difference all night for Asheville. Of the Tourists 13 hits, ten came with two outs in an inning. Melendez and Diaz each recorded three hits while Fernandez drove in a game-high three runs.
The series wraps up on Sunday afternoon with a 2:05pm first pitch at McCormick Field.