Savannah, GA - In front of a sold-out crowd of 4,509 on Opening Night, the Lakewood BlueClaws defeated the Savannah Sand Gnats 6-3.
The only scoring for the Gnats came in the bottom of the ninth inning. Down 6-0, after a walk and a single, CF Patrick Biondi cranked a three-run homerun over the rightfield wall for his first professional longball. The former Michigan Wolverine finished 3-for-4 in his Sand Gnats' debut.
The BlueClaws (1-0) scored the game's first run in the fourth inning against Savannah starter Robert Gsellman. 2B Andrew Pullin doubled and scored on Larry Greene Jr.'s infield single. Greene was 3-for-4 with a triple, a run scored and four RBI. He tripled down the right field line to drive home three runs to cap a four-run eighth inning that put Lakewood ahead 6-0.
Lakewood chased Gsellman in the sixth inning. Two singles and a walk plated a run to put the BlueClaws up 2-0. Then Greene Jr. singled to center, to load the bases, ending Gsellman's night. Reliever Tim Peterson entered with one out, and escaped any further trouble by striking out two batters. Peterson worked a scoreless seventh inning of his own with three ground balls.
SS Gavin Cecchini, in his first Savannah start, was 2-for-5, with two singles. 1B Dominic Smith was 1-for-4. Biondi's homerun was the only Sand Gnats' extra-base hit.
The Gnats had chances to score early in the game, but left a runner at third three times in the game's first four innings.
Savannah will send RHP John Michael Gant to the hill Friday night against RHP Tyler Viza. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 pm. Gates to Historic Grayson Stadium open at 6 pm. Fans can enjoy a Facebook Friday ticket discount to game by visiting St. Joseph's/Candler on Facebook at facebook.com/StJosephsCandler. The radio pregame show on News/Talk 630 and sandgnats.com begins at 6:45 pm.