The Greenville Drive (2-3) took to the road on Monday night, but the Hickory Crawdads (2-3) weren't feeling very hospitable. After surrendering the lead in the top half of the ninth, Hickory sent the crowd home happy, as Nick Williams hit a two-out, walk-off homer to give the Crawdads a 5-4 victory.
Drive reliever Yunior Ortega (0-1) sandwiched a one-out single by Luis Marte with a pair of strikeouts, but Williams smacked an offering over the left-field wall to win the game.
The walk-off win spoiled a ninth-inning rally by the Drive, in which they scored a pair of runs to take the lead. David Chester rudely greeted new Hickory pitcher Josh McElwee with a solo shot over the left field wall to lead off the frame, knotting the game up at 3-3. The Drive did the rest of their damage in the inning with two outs, as Jordan Weems singled to left and came all the way around to score on a double to center by Mike Miller.
The Drive struck first with a pair of runs in the top of the first against Hickory starter Eric Brooks. Miller drew a walk and advanced to second on Mookie Betts' infield single to shortstop. After a double play, Boss Moanaroa ripped a solid single to right field to plate Miller. Two batters later, Chester's line drive double to left brought home Moanaroa for the 2-0 lead.
Hickory relied on the long ball to even the score at two. Ryan Rua led off the bottom of the fifth with a home run to left against Drive starter Frank Montas, while Joey Gallo launched a solo shot to center field off Montas in the sixth to tie the game up.
Despite giving up two homers, it was a nice outing overall for Montas in his first start of 2013. He threw five and two-third innings, allowing six hits, two runs and no walks, while using his electric fastball to punch out seven Hickory hitters.
The Crawdads took the lead in the bottom of the eighth with Ortega on the mound. Gallo and Jorge Alfaro hit back-to-back singles with two outs, and Preston Beck's grounder was misplayed by Drive third baseman Nick Moore for an error, scoring Gallo.
Miller picked up three hits on the evening. Chester had two hits, and his solo shot was the first homer of the season for the Drive. Moanaroa also collected a pair of hits. Gallo had three hits for the Crawdads, while Jordan Akins had two hits of his own.
The same two teams will meet again tomorrow night in Hickory beginning at 6:00. LHP Cody Kukuk will make his first start of the season for the Drive, while RHP Kelvin Vasquez takes the ball for the Crawdads.