Greenville, SC - The Greenville Drive and Charleston RiverDogs produced another compelling game from start to finish as the Southern Division Championship returned to Fluor Field on Friday night, and the RiverDogs came away with a 2-1 win to even the series at one.
Pitching was the story early in the game, as Greenville's Bryan Mata and Charleston's Rony Garcia each put together terrific starts. Mata struck out seven RiverDogs over four and one-third scoreless innings, working in and out of some trouble before coming out after 92 pitches. Garcia held the Drive off the board for five and one-third innings with five strikeouts of his own.
The game remained 0-0 until the seventh, when the RiverDogs struck for a pair of runs. Dom Thompson-Williams led off the frame with a single off Brendan Nail, and he moved up on a sacrifice bunt. Diego Castillo then singled into right field, and Thompson-Williams slid in just ahead of the tag at home. Brandon Wagner followed by lining a double to the wall in left-center to score Castillo.
Greenville plated their lone run of the evening in the bottom of the eighth. Brett Netzer led off with a double to left-center, and he scored two batters later on a groundout to shortstop by Jerry Downs.
Luis Cedeno got the win with two and two-third innings of relief for Charleston.
The bottom of the ninth was made interesting when Pedro Castellanos's infield popup was dropped, putting the tying run on base. Pinch runner Yoan Aybar later scooted to second base on a wild pitch, but Matt Wivinis notched a pair of strikeouts to end the game and get the save.
Netzer and Castellanos recorded a pair of hits apiece for Greenville. Castillo went 3-5 to lead Charleston's offense, while Wagner added two hits.
The decisive game three of the Southern Division Championship will be played at Fluor Field on Saturday night at 7:05 PM, with the winner clinching a spot in the South Atlantic League Championship Series beginning on Monday.
Right-hander Hildemaro Requena (11-3, 1.98) will take the mound in the pivotal matchup for the Drive as he looks to continue his success since moving to the starting rotation. The RiverDogs will counter with right-hander Nick Green (8-9, 4.49).
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.