Savannah, GA - The Greenville Drive cruised past the Savannah Sand Gnats 4-0 in the opener of the teams' three game series Thursday night at Historic Grayson Stadium. The Gnats, who finished their recent road trip at 6-1, had only four hits on their way to their first shutout loss of 2014.
The Drive (8-6) scored their first run in the third inning against starter Robert Gsellman, when LF Kevin Mager singled home 3B Jimmy Rider. After a 37-pitch third inning, Gsellman steadied himself and retired the side in order in the fourth and fifth innings on just 25 pitches total. He was charged with the loss despite allowing one run in five innings with five strikeouts.
Drive starter Teddy Stankiewicz, who was drafted by the Mets in the second round of the 2012 draft, but did not sign, shutout Savannah through six innings, striking out three without issuing a walk.
Of the four singles the Gnats collected Thursday, only one left the infield. Third baseman Jeff McNeil who bunted for a hit twice was the only Gnat with more than one hit.
The Drive added three runs, two unearned, in the top of the eighth against reliever Dawrin Frias, when both middle infielders, SS Gavin Cecchini and 2B LJ Mazzilli made errors.
The Gnats will look to even the series Friday when they hand the ball to Savannah native RHP John Michael Gant (2-0, 2.77), who will take on RHP Mario Alcantara (0-1, 9.00) for Greenville. Fans can enjoy a Facebook Friday ticket discount to the game by visiting St. Joseph's/Candler on Facebook brought to you in part by E-93 and Nash FM. After the game, kids 12 and under will run the bases brought to you by Papa Murphy's. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05. Gates to Historic Grayson Stadium open at 6 p.m. The radio broadcast on News/Talk 630 WBMQ and online at sandgnats.com begins with the pregame show at 6:45 pm.