The Greenville Drive (7-13) found the long ball to be a remedy for their offensive woes, but it still wasn't enough on Wednesday night, as they dropped a 7-5 contest to the Lakewood BlueClaws (7-13) at Fluor Field.
Lakewood jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first, as Larry Greene Jr. and Art Charles laced back-to-back doubles against Drive starter Francellis Montas (0-3). The Drive answered right back in the bottom half when Mookie Betts smacked a leadoff homer off the batter's eye in center field against BlueClaws starter Miguel Nunez (2-0).
The BlueClaws countered with two more runs in the top of the second. William Carmona grounded a triple into the right-field corner with one away to score Carlos Tocci, who singled and moved to second on a wild pitch. Chace Numata followed with a sacrifice fly to center field to plate Carmona.
Lakewood extended their lead to 4-1 in the third, as Angelo Mora doubled against Montas, stole third, and came home when Brian Pointer dumped a single into right. Francisco Taveras came on in relief for the Drive to begin the fifth, and he recorded the first two outs before running into trouble. After walking the next three hitters to load the bases, Mitch Walding quickly cleared the bases with a three-run double to left-center.
The Drive put a two-spot on the board against Lakewood reliever Yoel Mecias in the sixth, as Boss Moanaroa reached on an error and Aneury Tavarez smacked a homer over the right field wall to cut the score to 7-3.
Greenville put up two more runs on the board against Mecias in the ninth but couldn't quite finish the rally. After Jayson Hernandez walked with one out, Jordan Weems lined a double to the left-center gap to plate a run. Weems advanced to third on a wild pitch and came in on a Dreily Guerrero sacrifice fly which made the score 7-5 with two outs. Betts followed with a hard groundball that almost made it through the middle, but Mora made a diving stop and completed the throw to first to end the game.
Nunez worked five innings and allowed three hits and one run while walking four and striking out two. Mecias threw the final four innings and despite allowing three earned runs, picked up his first save of the season. Madison Younginer pitched a scoreless ninth for the Drive and struck out a pair.
Walding drove in three runs for Lakewood, while Tavarez led Greenville with two RBIs. These two teams will complete their three game series on Thursday night, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 PM. LHP Cody Kukuk (1-2, 5.11) will take the mound and try to salvage the series for the Drive, while RHP Jordan Guth (1-3, 5.50) is the starter for the BlueClaws.