Lakewood gets clutch hitting in opener

Garcia, d'Arnaud steer BlueClaws to early series lead on Drive

Harold Garcia has driven in a Sally League-high four runs in the playoffs. (Brian Westerholt/Four Seam Images)

By John Parker / Special to | September 14, 2009 8:31 PM

The Lakewood BlueClaws relied on clutch hitting and a deep bullpen to take the opening game of the South Atlantic League Championship Series against the visiting Greenville Drive, 6-3, on Monday night.

Harold Garcia led the way for the BlueClaws, delivering an RBI double in the third inning and a solo homer in the eighth. The second baseman is batting .385 (5-for-13) with four RBIs in three playoff games.

Catcher Travis d'Arnaud doubled, singled, scored twice and drove in a run. A first-round pick by the Phillies in 2007, d'Arnaud leads all Sally League postseason hitters with a .545 average (6-for-11) and three doubles.

"We're just comfortable at the plate at this point in the season," d'Arnaud said. "The team is really loose right now, and we had a lot of clutch hits tonight."

The BlueClaws went 3-for-8 with runners in scoring position and scored three of their runs with two outs in an inning.

Greenville outhit Lakewood, 10-9, with second baseman Zach Gentile collecting three singles. But the Drive were just 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position and left 11 men on base.

After starter Matthew Way yielded two runs on six hits and four walks while fanning five in 4 1/3 innings, the BlueClaws went to the bullpen five times to finish off the Drive. Reliever Luke Wertz picked up the victory, giving up one hit in one scoreless frame.

Rehabbing Major Leaguer Clay Condrey, who has made 36 appearances with the Phillies this season, allowed a run on two hits in the seventh inning.

d'Arnaud is half of a sibling act tearing up the Class A postseason this September. His older brother, Chase, an infield prospect in the Pirates organization, drove in three runs for Lynchburg in Game 1 of the Carolina League Mills Cup Finals on Monday night.

"I actually saw him play at Wilmington on Saturday when we had a day off -- and he hit a homer," said the younger d'Arnaud. "He wanted me to come to the next game, but it's a seven-hour drive, so..."

The BlueClaws host the Drive again in Tuesday's Game 2 before the series shifts to Greenville.

John Parker is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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