GREENSBORO, NC - The Savannah Sand Gnats evened the best-of-five South Atlantic League Championship Series at one game each with a 7-3 victory over the Greensboro Grasshoppers at NewBridge Bank Park in Greensboro Tuesday night. After a travel day Wednesday, the series shifts to Savannah for game three Thursday night.
The Gnats scored five unanswered runs from the third through the eighth innings to break a 2-2 tie and take control of the game. Savannah took a 3-2 lead in the third inning when CF Darrell Ceciliani scored on a wild pitch. The Gnats expanded their advantage to 4-2 lead in the fourth inning when 3B Aderlin Rodriguez singled, advanced to second, and scored on 'Hoppers error.
From there, the Gnats put the game away with two more home runs, their fourth and fifth in the two games in Greensboro. In the seventh, 2B Luis Nieves lifted a solo shot to right field to put the Gnats up 5-2. It was the first home run of the year for Nieves, who played 87 games for the Gnats in the regular season without a long ball. Rodriguez put the Gnats up 7-2 in the eighth by crushing a long home run to left.
Savannah right-hander Yohan Almonte relieved starter Gonzalez Germen in the fourth and gave the Gnats five scoreless innings out of the bullpen to earn his first win in his first appearance of the post-season. Almonte struck out five and walked two while allowing four singles.
The Gnats hopped on top with a two-run first. After singles from Ceciliani and SS Wilfredo Tovar, 1B Joe Bonfe ripped a two-out double down the left field line to drive home Ceciliani and Tovar. Tovar finished 3-for-5 with a double.
The Grasshoppers answered back with single runs in the first and second innings against Germen to tie the game at 2-2. Germen fought his way through three innings, yielding two runs, both earned on five hits.
Greensboro used two Savannah errors to score a run and load the bases in the ninth before reliever Brandon Sage struck out DH Wilfredo Gimenez, batting as the tying run with the bases loaded, to end the game and secure the Gnats'
First pitch from Savannah for game three on Thursday night will be 7:05 pm. Gates open at 6 pm and the radio broadcast on News/Talk 630 and sandgnats.com will begin at 6:50 pm. Game four is scheduled for Friday at 7:05 pm and if necessary, game five will be Saturday at 6:05 pm.
THIRSTY THURSDAY AND HAPPY HOUR
Thirsty Thursday - Half-price on all small sodas and small draught beers all night long, presented by Budweiser & I-95.
Happy Hour - $0.50 Natty Lights & $3.00 Captain and Cokes from 6pm to first pitch on Land Shark Landing at the Captain Morgan's Cove Bar, presented by Tubby's of Thunderbolt.
2011 CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES TICKETS
The Championship Series will shift to Savannah Thursday night for game three Thursday. Tickets are currently available by calling the Sand Gnats' front office at (912) 351-9150 or by going online to www.sandgnats.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.