Greenville, SC - The Greenville Drive continued their winning ways on Saturday night thanks to one swing of the bat, as Bobby Dalbec's seventh-inning grand slam propelled the Drive to a 7-4 victory in the series opener against the Hickory Crawdads. The Drive's winning streak now sits at a season-high seven games.
After the Crawdads (13-10, 41-52) tied the game at three in the top half of the seventh, the Drive (11-11, 52-39) made their move in the bottom half, with two singles and a hit by pitch loading the bases. Dalbec then blasted a 400-foot line drive over the wall in left-center off Joe Kuzia (1-1) to put the home team ahead.
The grand slam made a winner out of Greenville reliever Matthew Gorst (5-3), who stranded the bases loaded upon entering in the top of the seventh and worked the final two and one-third innings. Drive starter Darwinzon Hernandez was outstanding as well, firing five scoreless frames with five strikeouts.
Hernandez and Hickory starter Sal Mendez traded zeroes at the beginning of the game, and the Drive struck first for two runs in the fifth to take the lead. Lorenzo Cedrola lined a single off Mendez to plate the first run, and Mendez's attempt to throw Cedrola out at first bounced into right field to bring home a second runner.
In the sixth, Granger Studdard was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to extend the Drive lead to 3-0.
The Crawdads came alive in the seventh. Anderson Tejeda's RBI double put Hickory on the board, and after a wild pitch cut the Drive lead to 3-2, Elio Castillo blooped a single to right to tie the game.
In addition to Dalbec's grand slam, Greenville received strong offensive nights from Tyler Hill and Steven Reveles, who notched two hits apiece.
Charles Leblanc went 2-4 with an RBI single in the ninth for Hickory, and he was joined with two-hit games by Tejeda and Blaine Prescott.
The series continues with a 4:05 first pitch on Sunday afternoon at Fluor Field. Left-hander Jay Groome (1-1, 12.46) will start for the Drive, and the Crawdads will send right-hander Kyle Cody (4-6, 3.24) to the hill.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.