Charleston, SC - The Greenville Drive clinched the 2018 Battle of the Palmetto State Rivalry Series presented by Spinx in convincing fashion on Thursday night, as they shut out the Charleston RiverDogs 6-0.
Tanner Nishioka was the driving force behind the Greenville (33-26, 58-70) offense in the series opener, as he went 4-4 with a homer and three RBI, and he finished a triple shy of the cycle. His two-run homer in the fourth inning staked the Drive to a 2-0 lead they wouldn't relinquish.
On the mound, Jhonathan Diaz (10-8) was the star. The southpaw shut down the RiverDogs (25-32, 58-67) for six innings, and he allowed only three hits and one walk with five strikeouts. He joins Denyi Reyes as Greenville hurlers to post double digit victories this season.
The Drive put up another two-run inning against Janson Junk (6-5) in the fifth. Jarren Duran and Ryan Fitzgerald hit back-to-back doubles to plate the first run, and Pedro Castellanos added an RBI single in the frame.
The lead was pushed to 6-0 in the seventh. Duran led off by smacking a solo homer to right, his first long ball since joining the Drive. Later in the inning, Nishioka hit an RBI double to bring home Marino Campana, who reached on an error.
Diaz was followed by Juan Florentino and Devon Fisher, who combined for three hitless innings to preserve the shutout.
Nishioka's four-hit night pushes his batting average against Charleston to .422 in 11 games, with 19 hits in 45-at bats. Duran and Fitzgerald chipped in with two hits apiece.
The teams will meet again in Charleston on Friday night at 7:05. Right-hander Alex Scherff (1-5, 6.00) takes the mound for the Drive, and right-hander Alex Mauricio (1-1, 5.81) draws the start for the RiverDogs.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.