Drive take championship series opener in 13

Burger doubles twice, drives in 2 as Intimidators come up short

Manager Justin Jirschele greets Alex Call at third base following his RBI-triple to score Jake Burger in the sixth inning of Game 1 of the South Atlantic League Championship Series on Sept. 12, 2017. (photo by Brian Westerholt/Four Seam Images)

By Josh Feldman / Kannapolis Intimidators | September 13, 2017 12:19 AM ET


KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (Sep. 12, 2017) - White Sox first round pick Jake Burger doubled twice and drove in two runs, but the Intimidators fell the Greenville Drive, 8-7 in 13 innings, in Game 1 of the best-of-five South Atlantic League Championship Series on Tuesday night at Intimidators Stadium supported by Carolinas HealthCare System. On three occasions, Kannapolis rallied to tie the game, but Greenville's fourth lead of the night held up in extra innings.

In the top of the 13th, Roldani Baldwin led off with a base hit and moved to second on a Jagger Rusconi sacrifice bunt. Bobby Dalbec, who began his night with four strikeouts, made up for his earlier at-bats with a go-ahead double, scoring Baldwin for a 7-6 lead. Dalbec, who finished 2-for-7 with two RBI and a double, later came around to score on an Intimidators error for what proved to be the game-winning run.

Kannapolis attempted to rally one last time in the bottom of the 13th. Reliever Joan Martinez plunked Gavin Sheets to open the inning, and Grant Massey entered the game as a pinch-runner. With two outs, Massey moved to second on a wild pitch, and Mitch Roman dropped an RBI-single in right field, scoring Massey to pull within a run. Martinez fanned Casey Schroeder to end the game, earning the save (1).

Algenis Martinez (1-0) earned the win with 3.0 scoreless relief innings for the Drive in his first outing of the postseason. Andre Davis (0-1) took the loss, allowing two runs on three hits in 2.0 innings of work.  

Burger, Alex Call, and Mitch Roman each collected three hits for Kannapolis as the 5-6-7 hitters combined for nine of the team's 11 hits. The Drive were led by Santiago Espinal, who had a career-high five hits, going 5-for-7 with three runs scored.  

Leading 1-0 after the first inning, Greenville extended its lead in the second on Brett Netzer's 2-run double for a 3-0 lead.  

Kannapolis rallied for three runs in the home half of the second inning to tie the game, 3-3. Gavin Sheets drew a lead off walk and moved to second base on a wild pitch, and Jake Burger followed with an RBI-single to put the Intimidators on the board. Alex Call legged out an infield single, and Mitch Roman singled to cash Burger before Casey Schroeder drove in Call with a game-tying sacrifice fly.  

Greenville reclaimed the lead on Netzer's fourth-inning RBI-single, but the Intimidators evened the game with a 2-out rally in the home half of the inning. Call drove a 2-out double to left-center field, and Roman followed with a base hit to right field, scoring Call to knot to score 4-4.

The Intimidators took their only lead of the game in the sixth inning, 5-4, when Burger singled, and Call followed with an RBI-triple, putting him three-fourths of the way to the natural cycle through his first three plate appearances. 

In the eighth inning, Greenville flipped the score with two runs off Danny Dopico for a 6-5 lead, but Burger doubled to score Blake Rutherford in the home half of the inning, tying the game. 

The Intimidators are in their first postseason since 2009 and first SAL Championship Series since 2005. Kannapolis won its only SAL Championship in 2005. The Drive are looking for their first championship in franchise history.  

The Intimidators host Game 2 of the SAL Championship Series on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. as RHP Luis Martinez (1-0) makes his second postseason start for Kannapolis against Greenville's LHP Jhonathan Diaz (0-0). Following Game 2, all remaining games of the SAL Championship Series will be played at Greenville's Fluor Field. Playoff tickets are available by calling the F&M Bank Box Office at 704-932-3267, or by visiting

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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