Savannah, GA - With the rain finally out of Savannah, the Greenville Drive (21-18) and Savannah Sand Gnats (28-12) played a pair of games on Friday night. After an 11-3 defeat in the first half of the doubleheader, the Drive came back and took a 4-1 contest in the nightcap to clinch a split.
The Sand Gnats jumped out to an early 1-0 lead against Drive starter Teddy Stankiewicz after a one-out triple by Gavin Cecchini and an RBI double by L.J. Mazzilli, but they were kept off the scoreboard the rest of the way.
The Drive took the lead for good with a pair of runs in the fourth inning, as Tzu-Wei Lin led off with a single to center and later scored on Jake Romanski's RBI single to center. Manuel Margot followed with an RBI single to make the score 2-1.
Romanski struck again in the fifth inning against John Gant (4-2) with a two-run single to score Forrestt Allday and Jantzen Witte, who each singled as well. Romanski finished the nightcap 3-3 with three RBI.
Joe Gunkel (1-0) fired three scoreless frames of relief to pick up the win for the Drive. After allowing the first inning run, Stankiewicz settled in, giving up just three hits while striking out four.
Mazzilli had two hits for the Sand Gnats in the second game.
Game one of the doubleheader was all Savannah, as they roughed up Drive starter Jamie Callahan (2-3) for nine hits and nine runs in three and two-third innings.
Stefan Sabol's RBI fielder's choice in the first made the score 1-0, and the Sand Gnats added a pair in the second on Matt Oberste's RBI double and Colton Plaia's sacrifice fly.
Dominic Smith drove home a run in the third with a single, and a five-run fourth made the score 9-0 and helped pushed Callahan out of the game. Sabol laced a two-run single, and after John Ely came on in relief, Smith drew a bases loaded walk and Victor Crusado lined a two-run single to right.
Savannah starter Miller Diaz (4-0) hurled five shutout frames to earn the win, striking out eight and allowing only two hits.
The Drive scored three runs in the final two innings against Paul Paez. Zach Kapstein got the Drive on the board with a two-run single to left in the sixth, and Jantzen Witte lifted a sacrifice fly to score Forrestt Allday in the seventh.
Jeff McNeil went 3-3 with three runs scored for Savannah in game one, and Smith added a pair of hits and three RBI. Allday and Wendell Rijo collected two hits for the Drive in the opening game.
The Drive's road trip continues on Saturday as they begin a four-game series against the Asheville Tourists. First pitch for the series opener is set for 6:05 PM. RH Myles Smith (0-1, 5.55) will make his first start of the year for the Drive, while the Tourists will send RH Alex Balog (2-3, 3.16) to the mound.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.