Savannah, GA - For second time in four games, Brandon Nimmo drove home the winning run in extra innings and for the third time in four years, the Savannah Sand Gnats won the First Half Southern Division Championship. The Gnats beat the Greenville Drive 2-1 in 12 innings, while the Charleston RiverDogs fell 4-1 to the Augusta GreenJackets in Charleston to allow the Gnats to clinch the Division title.
Savannah won the First Half title in 2010 and 2011.
In the 12th, with one out, 2B Jeff Reynolds singled to right field and SS Philip Evans singled to left field. DH Eudy Pina then walked to load the bases. On Tuesday, Brandon Nimmo drove home the winning run in the bottom of the 11th on a bases loaded walk. On Friday, he lifted a sacrifice fly to centerfield. Reynolds, running from third, paused on the way home, and then the throw from centerfielder Cory Koback hit him in the foot, allowing him to score the winning run.
The Gnats (41-26) scored the game's first run in the bottom of the second inning. RF Maikis De La Cruz doubled, advanced to third on LF Stefan Sabol's single and scored on 3B Cole Frenzel's comebacker to the pitcher. De La Cruz doubled twice.
The Drive (22-45) evened the game in the top of the eighth inning. 2B Mookie Betts, who had three hits, singled and scored to even the game at 1-1.
Savannah starter Steven Matz struck out a personal season-best 10 batters in his 5.1 shutout innings. He gave up two singles and two walks, both in the sixth innings.
1B Jayce Boyd was 2-for-3 with a pair of walks. His groundout in the 10th inning snapped a streak in which he had reached base safely in 10 straight plate appearances.
Savannah reliever Bret Mitchell worked two scoreless frames in the 11th and 12th, to earn his third win of the year. Greenville reliever Gerardo Oliveras, who entered in the 11th, took the loss to fall to 1-2.
The Gnats will send RHP Luis Cessa (3-2, 3.32) to the mound Saturday against RHP Justin Haley (3-6, 4.53). First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 pm. Gates to Historic Grayson Stadium open at 5 pm. The radio pregame show begins on News/Talk 630 and online at sandgnats.com at 5:45 pm.
Fireworks presented by CarMax and KIX96 follow the game.