Greenville, SC - In the decisive game of the Southern Division Championship on Saturday night at Fluor Field, the Greenville Drive handled the Charleston RiverDogs in dominant fashion, as they posted a 5-0 victory to clinch their first berth in the South Atlantic League Championship Series since 2010.
The Drive continued their outstanding pitching in the clincher. Hildemaro Requena posted a 7-0 record in eight starts in the rotation to end the regular season, and he continued that excellence in his first postseason appearance. He held the RiverDogs to just four hits and three walks in seven and one-third scoreless innings with four strikeouts.
Much like the previous two contests in the series, the game was scoreless until the late innings, as Requena was matched pitch-for-pitch by Charleston starter Nick Green, who retired the first 13 batters he faced until Bobby Dalbec laced a one-out single to right in the fifth.
The Drive finally got to Green in the sixth to take the lead. After a walk, an error on a sacrifice bunt and a wild pitch, Santiago Espinal delivered an RBI single to put the Drive ahead. He moved to second base on the throw home, and he came home when Brett Netzer followed with an RBI single of his own.
The RiverDogs threatened in the eighth by putting a pair of runners on base and knocking Requena out of the game, but Joan Martinez came in and recorded a strikeout and a flyout to keep the score at 2-0.
The score didn't stay there for long. After back-to-back singles in the bottom half by Netzer and Roldani Baldwin, Dalbec gave the Drive some insurance in a big way, as he blasted a three-run homer onto the rooftop beyond the Green Monster, estimated at 430 feet.
Martinez walked the bases loaded in the ninth, but Daniel Gonzalez entered with two outs and got Eduardo Navas to fly out to shallow center to set off a Drive celebration in the infield.
Dalbec and Netzer collected two hits apiece to lead the Greenville offensive attack.
The Drive will face off against the Kannapolis Intimidators, a Chicago White Sox affiliate, in the South Atlantic League Championship Series beginning on Monday night in Kannapolis. The Drive will look to continue their success against Kannapolis, as they posted a 7-2 record against the Intimidators in the regular season series. First pitch in the opener is scheduled for 7:05 PM.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.