The Greenville Drive claimed the South Atlantic League Championship for the first time since 2017 and for the second time in franchise history, sweeping the Hudson Valley Renegades in the Championship Series, completing the sweep with a 7-3 victory in game two on Tuesday night.
Deadlocked at 2-2 in the fourth, Ronald Rosario blasted a home run to break the tie, and Kristian Campbell put the game out of reach in the seventh with a three-run homer to put the Drive ahead for good.
After a low-scoring, low-hitting affair in game one on Sunday in Hudson Valley, the Drive and Renegades fought a back-and-forth contest at Fluor Field Tuesday night as the teams traded runs in the third and fourth.
Hudson Valley drew first blood in the third inning as Jesus Rodriguez slapped a two-out RBI-single, scoring Cole Gabrielson from second to give the Renegades the 1-0 lead. But the Drive quickly answered as Gilberto Jimenez led off with double which Nick Decker followed up with a bloop-single to left and advanced to second on the throw to try and get Jimenez at third. A batter later, Eddinson Paulino ripped a double passed the Renegades’ first baseman, scoring both runners to give the Drive the lead.
But the Drive lead lasted for just five pitches into the start of the fourth, however, as Rafael Flores smacked a 430-foot home run over the left field wall knotting the game at 2-2. The Drive nearly took the lead again in the bottom of the fourth, getting the first two batters aboard. The ducks would sit on the pond however as reliever Yorlin Calderon recovered, fanning two and getting a line out to end the inning.
Greenville kept pounding away at Calderon, however, though he stifled their bats until the sixth inning. Rosario waited just two pitches before unleashing a 424-foot home run to deep left field, breaking the tie and putting the Drive up 3-2.
The Drive poured it on from there, plating four runs in the seventh thanks to Campbell’s moonshot over the centerfield wall to make it 7-2. Drive reliever Zach Penrod continued to dominate over his five innings, being pulled in the ninth after putting two aboard. Felix Cepeda came in for the final three outs, ending the game with a strikeout officially crowning the Drive South Atlantic League Champions.
The Greenville Drive (Boston Red Sox) return to action as the defending South Atlantic League Champions in April 2024.