Jesus Sanchez struck out five over six innings Tuesday as the Lakewood BlueClaws beat the Greenville Drive, 3-0, to grab a 2-0 lead in the best-of-5 South Atlantic League Finals.
Making his first start of the playoffs, Sanchez survived a rocky first inning in which he allowed back-to-back one-out singles. The right-hander, who turns 22 on Sept. 24, allowed just one hit to go with two walks the rest of the way.
Austin Hyatt yielded two hits and fanned four over two innings and Santo Hernandez notched his third playoff save -- but not without some drama. He allowed the tying run to come to the plate with two outs before getting Oscar Tejada to fly out to end the game.
Greenville starter Caleb Clay, a 2006 first-round pick, took a no-hitter into the fifth before allowing three straight hits, capped by Troy Hanzawa's RBI double that gave Lakewood a 1-0 lead. Clay yielded three runs on five hits with five strikeouts in five innings.
Harold Garcia and Sebastian Valle drove in the other runs for the BlueClaws, who need one win to capture their second championship in four years.
Casey Kelly, who spent the first half of the season as a pitcher, had a pair of singles and Shannon Wilkerson double for the Drive. Greenville hosts Game 3 on Thursday.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.